Playdough is one of those things that really is much easier to buy than make at home, but the quality you get when you make it yourself is so much better, in my opinion. Also, it is much less expensive, and you know exactly what your child is playing with. Plus you just know they are going to try eating it. I did when I was a kid, and I bet you did too, at some point. Despite the store-bought brand being "non-toxic", I still wouldn't want my kid eating it! The playdough from this recipe is smooth and soft. It lasts a long time too if kept in a container or wrapped in plastic wrap. It is also a good way to use up standard food coloring since we don't put it in our food anymore!
A word to the wise: I personally avoid recipes for playdough that include jello mix or anything else that makes it smell good or taste good. You are basically just giving your kid a snack then and if that is what you were going for, there are better "dough" recipes out there than playdough recipes!
The hard part about making playdough is that it needs to be babysat on the stove and if you do it right, your arm will hurt by the end! You have to keep stirring and stirring until it is really thick, and if you stop stirring you risk it burning or getting really hard in one spot. You'll also have a lot stuck to the sides of your pan, like this:
|This is what the dough should look like after it comes together in the pan. At this point, it is ready to take out and knead by hand.|
So the pan needs to soak for a while after making it. It comes right off though after a good soaking. You also have to knead the dough, which isn't hard, but it is another step.
After kneading the dough is ready and yours to divide up and color the way you like! I made mine into 4 pieces and colored them blue, green, red, and yellow. I just added some drops of food coloring to each bit and kneaded it in. Just work the dough until the color is evenly distributed.
Aren't they pretty? I love the mild colors. They are so fun to play with too!
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 T vegetable oil
Stir together flour, water, salt, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. keep stirring until it becomes so thick it creates a ball. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before handling. Place on a clean work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth. Divide and color as desired!