Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kids Zone - Playdough.....

At the preschool where I work, we've just done our first term parent/teacher interviews. These are very informative sessions for both parents and teachers but I noticed this time that many of the parents asked me for my recipe for playdough (we make our own for our classes as we find it lasts much longer than the shop bought stuff). It got me thinking that maybe I should do a Kids Zone post about playdough, including my foolproof recipe!

So, what is it? In a nutshell, it's a mixture of flour, oil and water which forms a rubbery type of  goo that kids just LOVE to play with. It can be moulded into almost any shape and when the kids are done playing, you push it into an airtight container, snap the lid on and it's all ready for next time! Genius!

There are many many recipes out there and I think I've tried almost all of them. Many are complicated, many are time-consuming but the recipe that I use is simple and quick. Here it is:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 sachet cream tartar (14g)
1 teaspoon (15ml) oil (I use vegetable oil)
1 cup boiling water
a few drops of food colouring and / or glitter

Add the food colouring to the boiling water.
Pour all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Add the oil and then add the water/food colouring.
Mix thoroughly until a dryish dough forms. (The dough should leave the sides of the bowl clean.)
If too wet/sticky, add a little more flour and knead well.

As you can see, it's almost too easy but I can promise you that it works like a dream! It lasts 3-4 weeks in an airtight container which is a bonus and if you make two batches of two different colours you can alternate them each time the children play. For something different, you can add glitter to make it sparkly, rice or lentils for texture, or a few drops of scented oil to give it a sensory twist. Just be careful not to make it smell too yummy as then the little darlings are very prone to eating it!!!!!!

To me, the most important reason to make playdough for your children is that it's FUN!!!! Most kids love getting sticky, mucky and yucky and whilst playdough is not quite the same as mud-pie making in the garden, it does come pretty close! There are, however, other benefits which include, strengthening the muscles in fingers and wrists, encouraging the imagination (playdough can become almost anything), and being a great stress reliever (try it yourself next time you feel stressed)!

Once it's cooled and ready to use try and think 'out of the box' with regards to tools for your kids to use with it. Obviously the bulk standard cookie cutters are great as are rolling pins and plastic knives but sometimes it's great to give them things like matchsticks (without the heads) so they can make porcupines and hedgehogs, marbles (which they love to press into the playdo so the marbles disappear), kiddie scissors (let them make a sausage and cut it up) and even kitchen utensils (my kids love using the potato masher and the garlic crusher)! Tea sets are also good as are plastic plates, bowls and containers. I try to keep all the plastic packaging that food comes in so that way I'm recycling as well!

As a teacher and as a parent I think playdough is one of life's joys. It's cheap, it's easy to make and it will keep your little ones amused for hours. For long car journeys you can take some in a container with a kitchen tray - just be prepared for some to get mushed into the upholstery....!

So, if you want a little ''mummy time" make some as soon as you can. You won't regret it, I promise.
Til next time.


  1. That looks like a great recipe for play dough. I've been meaning to make some for my girls but haven't gotten around to it yet. And thanks for the fun ideas to use with it!
    xXx Helen

  2. We had the same set of 'stamps' cow, pig, sheep and maybe a horse ~ it is a while ago~ great to see the cow again!


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