Homemade playdough is one of my favourite fine motor skills toys.
There are so many different ways you can playdough with your children. It’s awesome for developing all kinds of fine motor skills.
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Obviously it’s easy to buy playdough, but you might be surprised by just how easy it is to make for yourself.
So, that’s what today’s post is all about.
I want to share my foolproof recipe for homemade playdough so that you can enjoy it with your own children.
We’ve made so much of this stuff over the years!
I promise it’s super-easy, and you won’t need anything you can’t pick up next time you’re at the grocery store. No special ingredients, no expensive supplies.
Homemade Playdough Ingredients.
- 1 cup salt.
- 2 cups plain flour.
- 4 tbsp cream of tartar (you can skip this if you don’t have it, but your playdough will be better if you include it).
- 2 cups water.
- Food colouring.
You might even have everything you need in your kitchen cupboard already.
How To Make Homemade Playdough.
1. Here is the secret trick to getting the colour nice and even to start with. (Yes, I know that it soon evens out when it’s played with and that your preschooler is going to mix the colours to a kind of sludgy brown anyway, but this is what to do if you want it to look perfect to start with).
Mix the food colouring into the water first.
Most recipes I’ve come across just tell you to add everything all at once. That works fine, it makes wonderful playdough, but this extra step just helps make the colour more even to start with.
Then, put everything else into a saucepan, and pour the coloured water over it.
2. Stir over a low heat.
3. Keep stirring.
4. Keep stirring, even though you’re sure this is never going to turn into playdough.
5. Stir just a smidge longer.
6. Once it all starts to come away from the edges of the pan, take the pan off the heat.
7. Let it cool enough for you to be able to handle it, and then knead it gently just to get it to come together properly.
Voila. Perfect playdough.
I like to keep mine in a box in the fridge, just because it’s less likely to get forgotten about there. It doesn’t need to be chilled though, just store in an airtight container.
It lasts a good few weeks, depending on how it’s played with. In our house, someone usually introduces additional ingredients, often from the mud kitchen, so it doesn’t last long.
Maybe you’ve got the kind of children who like to keep colours separate and who never bring mud into the house though.
10 Easy Ideas For Using Play-Doh.
- Let the kids play with it while it’s still warm (and then, when they’ve finished, put it in the fridge so that it’s icy cold for tomorrow).
- Set out muffin cases or tins and make homemade playdough cupcakes.
- Challenge them to make their favourite food.
- Print out your child’s name, slide it into a plastic wallet, and let them use playdough to make the letter shapes over the top of the clear plastic.
- Or, print out a big circle and let them make funny playdough faces.
- See who can make the longest snake without the playdough breaking.
- Use a garlic press to make wriggly worms or funny playdough hair.
- Then get out the scissors to snip that playdough hair.
- Make playdough clothes for (easily washed) plastic dolls. Or mermaid tails.
- Make playdough ‘beads’ and thread them onto raw spaghetti sticks.
Why Use Homemade Playdough?
One big advantage of homemade playdough over shop-bought is that the ingredients are so cheap, so widely available, that you can let your children go crazy.
I love inexpensive art supplies for the same reason.
I never want to be that mama hovering over the art table fretting about the wastage of expensive things.
Homemade playdough works every bit as well as the branded stuff.
This recipe is just as soft, just as much fun to play with. If you choose high-quality food colouring, you’ll get vivid, vibrant results.
But it costs pennies to make.
That means you can go crazy with different colours, and you can stand back and just let them mix everything to that lovely sludgy brown.
You can give them beads, and sticks and other random stuff to poke into it, and it doesn’t matter if it wrecks the playdough, because you can always make more.
Homemade playdough allows you that feeling of abundance, and that’s always something to strive for when you’re thinking about art supplies for preschoolers.
You’ll definitely want this recipe again, so make sure you pin it so you can find it easily.