There are a few things we ALWAYS have on hand for play, one of which is a batch of our homemade play dough. No matter the scent or colour, we always have some ready to use with some loose parts, stamps, scissors and more.
Playdough is more than just a family and childhood favourite, it is also an amazing learning activity for so many reasons:
- It promotes fine motor skills and strengthens hand muscles that are so important for writing skills.
- Used with open ended materials it encourages creative thinking and problem solving.
- It Enhances vocabulary as children talk about what they have created or how it feels.
- A calming sensory activity that is great as a quiet-time activity or a brain-break to support a frustrated or anxious child.
I’ve worked in childcare for over 10 years and trust me when I say I have tried a LOT of playdough recipes. The one I am sharing here is the only one you will ever need, I promise! I wish I could tell you where I found it, but it is one of those recipes that’s been scribbled on a scrap of paper on the fridge for years.
I know the no-cook playdough recipes out there can be appealing because they seem easier, (I have personally tried many of them in the classroom with inconsistent results) but it is just as easy to make this cooked recipe and the results are totally worth it! This recipe will leave you with a soft, long lasting playdough that, I would argue, is even better than store bought!
- 1 cup Flour
- 1/4 cup Salt
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 1 cup Water
- ADD INS: Food Colouring, Essential Oils, Flower Petals, Glitter, etc
How to Make it:
- Whisk all ingredients (minus the add-ins) together in a saucepan. ***If you are making your whole batch the same colour, I do recommend adding your food colouring at this stage as it is much easier to mix in. If you prefer to divide it into a few different colours, then save the food colouring until the end with the rest of the add-ins.
- Cook over Med-Low heat, stirring constantly and making sure to scrape the sides. I personally prefer to use a sturdy wooden spoon over a spatula because it is much easier to stir all the way to the end when it firms up.
- Continue stirring just until playdough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball.
- Turn the ball of playdough onto the counter to cool. When it is cool enough to touch safely, knead until smooth and wrap in plastic wrap to finish cooling.
- Mix in any extras you like and you are ready to play!
***Keep your playdough stored in an airtight container after each use to get a long life out of it!***
Here are some of our favourite ways to play with playdough:
- Pair with loose parts like rocks, jewels, buttons and let children squish, pinch, and create.
- Add a pair of children’s safety scissors or a child’s knife to help practice cutting.
- Use stamps such as alphabet or seasonal pictures to create imprints.
Here are some of our favourite resources to use with playdough:
I hope you and your children love this recipe as much as we do! Be inspired to play always!
*Disclaimer: I do earn a small percentage from the links above at no extra cost to you. I only share items that we love to use in our own home and play because I think you might love them too!