Playdough is marvellous stuff. Children love it and it provides really great sensory play that doesn’t cost the earth and helps them learn and develop in all kinds of ways. I can’t compete with the wonderful post on The Imagination Tree about the amazingness of playdough and how it can be used to boost imaginary play, literacy, numeracy, so I’ll just link to it here.
I love to make homemade playdough because it’s inexpensive and because I don’t like the smell of the shop-bought stuff. I even add scents to my homemade version to make it smell yummy! Hopefully this won’t encourage any curious toddlers to taste it! I also find homemade playdough doesn’t dry out as quickly as shop-bought. I store it in a tupperware container. If it’s gone a little dry, it can be rehydrated with a little water and kneaded together. If that doesn’t work, I make more, knowing that is has only cost pence and about five minutes!
Our main playdough kit includes a plain rolling pin and a patterned one, cutters (mainly animals and letters), a plastic knife and spoon, different shaped moulds, and a plunger thing to make playdough ‘string’. We also have some bits and bobs which you can stick in the playdough to make fairies. There are so many different kits out there, so the best thing to do is just choose one or two that you know your child will like. I also like to give Sophie dry pasta, beads, sequins, and pebbles to use.
There are loads of playdough recipes online, but this is how I make mine.
Super Easy and Quick No-Cook Playdough
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 cups boiling water
A couple of drops glycerine (optional)
Flavouring e.g. vanilla extract, rose water, ground cinnamon, ground ginger,
Food colouring (optional – I use Sugarflair gel colours as they’re really potent so you don’t need much)
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil. Add half the water, stirring well, then add the flavouring and glycerine (if using) and then the rest of the water bit by bit until it combines together into a sticky dough. Tip it out on the counter, add the food colouring and glitter if using, and knead vigorously for about 3 minutes, until it has lost all its stickiness. It can then be stored in an airtight container for weeks on end.