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Pretty-in-pink play dough

July 11, 2013

Home again, home again. We’ve actually been home for almost a week, but the two weeks of travel back-to-back sort of threw me off my game. I’ve felt so busy getting everything back in order with our life / home that I’ve barely had the time or energy to post anything. But I’m back now. We had such a happy two weeks with family, but it is nice to be in our own house again.

It’s a rainy day in Boston, so J and I made some (really pink) play dough. I’ve been a homemade-play-dough-skeptic since play dough reappeared in my life when J became a toddler. I just thought: why go through the effort of making your own? It’s not THAT expensive. And the “real” stuff has so many pretty colors. Then I had two positive run-ins with made-at-home play dough recently. In J’s art class, the teacher makes her own and it’s so vibrant and has such a nice feel. And then when we were visiting T’s family in Illinois last week, my mother-in-law (chef extraordinaire) made two kinds and J had a ball, just in the process of making it.

So, here are my new-found reasons to make play dough at home:

  • When you buy a bunch of different colors at the store, they inevitably mix together into a yucky brown mess. At home, you make a bunch of one color and it stays pretty.
  • It’s a fun activity with kids. J loved making it as much as he loved playing with it afterwards.
  • The sheer amount of play dough just seems fun to kids. J thought this huge mound of pink play dough was the best. He spent way more time with it than he does on his regular store-bought kind.
  • You can play around with it — different colors, different smells. A friend told me she made hers with glitter in it (she insisted it wasn’t messy, but I might avoid this one.) My mother-in-law mixed in a packet of Kool Aid for color and smell.

Here’s the recipe we used. You’ll note that I cut it in half. I think in the future, I’d always cut it in half. It made quite a bit. Twice as much might be too big for the pot, too.

4 cups flour

2 cups salt

4 cups water

6 tbsp vegetable oil

8 tsp cream of tartar

food coloring

Mix all ingredients in a large pot. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky (pulls away from sides of pot and has consistency of play dough). Dump onto table or allow to cool in pot for about 30 minutes. Knead large mound of dough until smooth. Add small amounts of flour if sticky until desired consistency is formed.

Recipe thanks to Isis Parenting and can be found here.

We stopped at a craft store this morning and picked up some cake decorating dye in place of the food coloring. J’s art teacher insists it’s the only way to make really vibrant colors. We used just a few drops of pink and she’s right — it was quite vibrant. Here’s a little look at our play dough making:

The ingredients:


The mixing:



The cooking:



And, finally, the playing:


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