Growing up, we always had homemade playdough. I think, because my mother was a kindergarten teacher and a frugal one at that, it was cheaper to make at home in the quantity she desired and then she’d always make extra for us. Emphasis on the cheaper part.

This also appeals to the cheapskate in me. Not to mention, have you recently smelled commercial play dough? It’s like huffing glue or sniffing gasoline. I’m not sure I want to know what chemicals, preservatives, stabilizers, etc, they put in there.


So, periodically (i.e. when I remember) I make some playdough for the Little People. For them, it’s like Christmas. And it’s so easy to do. I use pretty much the same recipe my mum used all those years ago.

Here it is:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup salt

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

2 cups boiling water

food coloring of your choice

glycerin, to add shine (optional)

Essential oil, to mask the odor, if it bugs you.

Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Add boiling water and stir as best you can. Add food colouring and a couple of drops of glycerin/a couple drops of essential oil, if using. Mix again. It’s will be ugly and sticky looking. Let the dough cool until you can handle it (a few minutes at most). Knead on a flat surface until all the sticky/lumpiness has gone away and you’re left with a smooth, soft dough. If it’s still sticky after all that, lightly dust with flour and knead again.

Cool the dough a little more and divvy out to happy little hands for lots of fine motor skill development, otherwise known as play. It should keep in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge for at least a week or two. Feel free to toss what gets eaten or dropped or shmeared on the dog.


You could also add glitter to this. Just sayin’.