Saturday, January 11, 2014

Homemade Playdough

Ellie got a play-doh set for Christmas, and she loves it. It's a little jungle set with a tree that makes "caterpillars" (ropes of play-doh) come out the top, an elephant you press down to make play-doh ears, hair, trunk, and tail, and a little turtle you press down on to make play-doh turtle legs. It also comes with some play-doh tools (like really blunt plastic knives, and a roller) to work with the play-doh.

Ellie's favorite things to do are make play-doh caterpillars with the three, squish the turtle, and press the knives into the play-doh to make random animals (which don't look anything like animals, but Ellie tells me what they are {like, "I made a dog!"}, so they're animals).

The kit came with four play-doh colors: a big thing of dark green, a small light green, a small blue, and a small orange. We lose a bit each time we play, though, as little chunks break off and get overlooked and then dry out on the kitchen floor. Even though we started out with enough dough to work with, our supply is quickly shrinking. Plus, I kind of want some more colors than the few we have.

So, vaguely remembering things I saw on pinterest a long time ago, I turned to the internet for a homemade playdough recipe. I used the first one at the top of the google page: How to Make Playdough (Play-doh), and it turned out great!

Here's the recipe (mostly for my own reference in the future):

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)
food coloring
scented oils (optional)

"Mix all the ingredients together" (I saved food coloring for after, though, so I could make multiple colors) "and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. Important note: If your playdough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer!"

At first it was all liquid-y...

But in just a couple minutes it got a lot thicker...

And pretty soon it was done and ready for food coloring!

I split the batch into three parts and made yellow, pink, and (a kind of ugly) purple, but it makes so much that you could easily split it into four or five or six colors.

Then I just packaged the colors in random tupperware containers...

And it was ready to go!

I thought I was going to like the brand-name "Play-doh" dough better when compared to this homemade playdough, but boy was I wrong! I love the homemade playdough! My favorite thing about it is that it's softer and easier to work with. Ellie can make shapes and animals a lot easier (as can I), and the playdough goes through the little play-doh machines so much easier. Pushing down on the elephant and the tree, which was quite difficult before, is now very easy. And you might be worried that if it's softer, this homemade playdough doesn't hold its shape as well - but it does! The animals and shapes we've made with it are just as sturdy and totally hold their shape as well as the store-bought kind. I'm so impressed.

I really do love this homemade playdough. It was so easy to make and now we have such a large supply. I'm totally going to make this in the future instead of buying the brand name play-doh (even though I'm sure I'll get more little plastic play-doh sets and tools).

I totally recommend this as a quick and easy recipe to make great playdough for little kids!

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