Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make Your Own Play Dough For Holiday Fun!

Trying to think of ways to enjoy spending time with family this Thanksgiving? Why not give a game like Pictionary or charades a twist by sculpting with play-dough instead of merely drawing or pantomiming? You could just buy the commercial stuff, but really, homemade dough can be much better, not to mention cheaper. It's so economical you can afford to make really large batches which are a lot more fun .

It feels really great to play with when it is fresh and slightly warm still. I remember a time many years ago when we invited a couple over and played with my freshly made dough. They were, on the face of it, a surprising looking couple. He was really quite handsome and of moderate build; she was rather plain, and remarkably heavy. (Usually it seems like there is a rough parity of attractiveness in couples unless the man is old and rich.)

Anyway, as soon as her husband started handling the quadruple batch of fresh, warm dough, his chin dropped and he unselfconsciously marveled in a rapturously exultant tone, "Its so soft.......and there's so much of it!"

My husband and I distinctly remember avoiding making eye contact with one another because we knew that we would just crack up if we did. (But hey, isn't it fantastic that he really loved her just the way she was?)

Here's the recipe:


* 1 cup water
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
* Food coloring (about a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp depending on desired intensity)
* Saucepan
* 1 cup flour


1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
2. Remove from heat and add flour.
3. Stir, then knead until smooth.(Don't use a whisk except maybe at the very beginning of stirring.) The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.( If it does not thicken promptly and form a ball, you may need to heat it a little more over low heat, stirring constantly.)
4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

Be very careful not too add to much oil, or the dough will be sticky! And remember, it makes a great Secret Santa surprise or stocking stuffer for almost all ages!


Unknown said...

THANK YOU!.. I am going to make a batch for my almost 2 years old nephew!!

kerfuffler said...

Have fun! You may want to keep some for yourself....

Many toddlers cannot be dissuaded from eating play dough, so a nutritious blend of peanut butter and powdered milk can be a messier but pragmatic alternative. (I don't remember the proportions, but there is a book called "Feed me, I'm Yours" that has all kinds of child centered recipes, from baby foods to fun dough recipes. )

Unknown said...

Thanks! The sister won't let him have peanut butter yet - fear of allergies or something- wonder if bacon works :|...

kerfuffler said...

Hmmmm, that's a healthy sounding alternative! (I had never seen the drooling emoticon. Nice!)