It is a rainy week, which means our outside adventuring plans for the next few days have been canceled. Usually this means the kids and I do lots of baking, but it’s the beginning of bathing suit season and I am so not ready. I still wanted to have us all come together around the dining room table to work on something to beat the rainy day blues, so I decided it was a good time for a fresh batch of my favorite DIY playdough.
I am not afraid of letting my kids mix colors or create something and leave it out to dry up and eventually get tossed. I am also known for encouraging them to use natural materials like sticks and rocks in their creations, so once the creating is over, that portion of dough gets tossed. Making our own playdough is so incredibly cheap in comparison to store-bought that it allows me to not fret about “wasted” dough in the name of creativity! Also, it is completely edible, so when your child makes a plate of green beans that look so real that your other child actually takes a bite while playing, you don’t have to freak out. He will spit it out, though. It tastes super salty, but at least you know all of the ingredients that went in his mouth.
Here’s my go-to recipe. This makes a great amount. I usually divide it into 6-8 parts and color them differently. Most of these items I pick up at the grocery store, the cheapest store-brand. But the food coloring and the cream of tartar I have found the best prices on Amazon. I use food coloring for lots of baking and crafts so I've linked to a large set with lots of colors.
As for essential oils, I get mine from Gina, a sweet homeschool mama, at http://fitoilsmomma.com/. I've also offered Amazon links if that's your preference. This time, I used Wild Orange and Peppermint oil for the energizing elements on a dreary day, but I have also used Lavender in other batches for more of a calming experience.
The Softest, Simplest No-Cook Playdough
Adapted from Momspotted.com
4 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Salt
1/4 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup of Cream of Tartar
3 Cups Boiling Water
20-30 drops of essential oils (optional)
1. Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar & oil in a large bowl. I usually have my water boiling while I do this step.
2. Add in boiling water and stir. I start with a wooden spoon, but I change over to using my hands once it cools a little to knead it all together.
3. Add in the essential oil and knead again.
4. Flatten out the ball as evenly as possible and cut it with a butter knife into 6-8 parts, depending on how many colors you would like to make.
5. Place each section in a zipper bag with drops of food coloring and zip shut, pressing the air out of the bag. Knead the color into the dough. I usually take it out of the bag once it is kneaded in a little bit and continue to knead with my hands. Starting it off in the bag helps eliminate food coloring stains on your hands. Another option is to use the paddle attachment on a kitchen mixer.
This is a great activity to get your little ones involved in. There is much to be learned in measuring, stirring, kneading, color mixing, and counting drops!
Playdough is a great sensory activity and so much open-ended play comes from smooshing, rolling, imagining, and creating. This ALEX Toys kit is one of our go-to playdough tools. They're pricier than the plastic pieces, but wooden toys are always more durable and let's be honest, more aesthetically pleasing when they're sprawled all over your kitchen table.