Now, I’m not going to pretend that I spend ages making my own play dough all the time. In 7 years I have done it a handful of times, on rainy days in desperation. It isn’t that painful to do, and in many ways it is better because unlike baking, there are no extra calories to consume after you’re finished. But in the demands of modern parenting, it takes time, especially if you do it as a child led activity, and it can create a massive mess that you then have to clear up.
Most recipes tell you to use food colouring, let me assure you, if like me you don’t have a collection of ready to use food colourings available, a squirt of paint does just as well. Washable paint isn’t very successful because the colours are never as bright but any pre-mixed toddler paint works well (IKEA do some lovely bright neon paints). Please don’t use Dulux or anything you would paint your house with lol.
4 cups of flour,
1.5 cups of salt,
1 cup of water,
2-3 tablespoons of oil,
Food colouring or paint. (Add enough to get the colour you would like. This part you can experiment with).
Use an old mixing bowl and spoon, especially if using paint, until it is mixed in, the colour goes all over your hands and anything within 100 yards of you if getting the kids to help. Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix throughly, kneeding the mixture as it comes together. Eventually you will have a lovely smooth ball of play dough, add your colour and need again, and the colour will be evenly spread throughout the play dough.
More sensible people add the colouring to the water…. I prefer to live life on the edge and just add when everything else is mixed together. That way I can make a big batch of play dough mixture and divide it up into equal portions and colour each portion a different colour. This time I divided it into thirds and coloured each third yellow, blue and green.
If you are feeling very brave, get the glitter out and add a generous amount. I have never attempted this in my own house.
After use store the play dough in an air tight container in the fridge. I find it keeps for a week or two. It doesn’t contain the preservatives of the branded shop bought play doughs. I don’t add any fancy oils to make it smell nice, but you could. I don’t think they sell bottled Play-Doh smell (pity).
I don’t recommend eating it, even though it is made of edible things (especially not if you use paint to colour it), and this recipe can be tailored to use any flour if your child has any allergies or a gluten intolerance.
If you try this recipe I would love to hear whether it was a successful activity or not. If it wasn’t, I will see you at the checkout queue with our Play-Doh tubs.