Thursday, 11 August 2011

Homemade play dough

With the weather lovely and sunny I though that a fun outdoor activity would be to make some homemade play dough.  Finding a recipe was easy; in fact there is an entire website devoted to different types of homemade play dough at

I decided to try the cooked version with cream of tartar as I have read that it is pretty fool proof from Counting Coconuts.

This is the receipe that I used.

2 cups of plain flour
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups of coloured water
1 cup of salt

Just mix everything together in a pan and cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens.  Be careful not to overcook as it will lose its shine and elasticity.

Ingredients mixed in a pan
I started with just a few drops of food colouring in the water mix but soon realised that quite a lot was needed.  I added about 2 teaspoons of colour directly to the pan to get a better green.

Mixture after lots of stirring
The mixture still didn't look very bright in colour but I stuck with it.  After just 6 minutes of heating on a medium heat the mixture started sticking together and so I spooned it all out onto a plate and let it cool down for 3 minutes.

Removed from the pan
Once it had cooled enough to handle I kneeded it over and over into a ball.  The consistancy improved as the ball formed and within 5 minutes it had a lovely shine and softness to it.

After a few minutes kneeding
The colour did improve as it cooled and I was very happy with the end result.  The ball was still quite sticky though so I added more flour until I got a wonderfully silky soft texture that didn't stick to the rolling pin when being rolled.  
The photo doesn't really do it justice as it looks a bit dry but it was just like the stuff you buy in the shops and even smelt a bit like it too.

Counting Coconuts suggests making a batch without colour and then adding colour afterwards when kneeding into balls.  This is what I will do next time so that I can have a few different colours.  It also looks like the colours will be brighter if they haven't been cooked.

I put our batch in a metal tin ready for use.  Freddy really enjoyed playing with it but he did run away with a handful and then come back with a slightly green mouth so I suspect the salt doesn't completely deter children from trying to eat it.


  1. oh mine loves the salty taste . i cannot stop it from eating it .
    love your blog just found it today . hope we do a continent swap together . i live in gambia.viv

  2. Hi Viviane!
    I would love to do a continent swap with you and learn about life in Gambia. Is there a bit Montessori following there?


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