There are few projects as satisfying to a five-year old (okay, or even a 35 year-old) as making playdough. It's fast, simple, and rewarding beyond the skills needed to make it happen.
I shared my playdough recipe once before, but I've rewritten it for you now, with photos of the process. Those help, since playdough goes through a "that-can't-be-right" stage just before it's done.
A note on wheat: though we do not eat gluten, no one in my home is celiac so this recipe is based on wheat flour. I'm working on a gluten-free version that I'll be sure to share when it's ready.
Homemade Play Dough
1 C white flour (I have used whole grain with good results as well)
1/4 C salt
2 T cream of tartar
1 C water
2 tsp food coloring (optional)
1 Tb oil
A few drops of essential oils of your choice.I am partial to Cranky Pants EO Blend, but use whatever you love.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium cooking pot.
Add wet ingredients (except essential oils) and stir.
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. It will go through the following stages:
Wet soupy flour mixture;
still moist but becoming gooey and starting to stick to the pan;
very awkward to stir and rather chunky;
and then suddenly - voila! - a fairly smooth ball of dough in your pot.
Once the dough forms a ball in the center of the pot, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then knead until smooth. Make a dent with your finger to add optional essential oils. Knead in completely.
For colored dough, divide as desired. Flatten each ball and make a fingerprint in the center. (But don't go all the way through!)
Add a drop or two of food coloring to each, then fold into a little calzone and carefully knead and fold to work the color into the dough. (This job is best for adults or older kids, and you might want to wear gloves if you are worried about a touch of coloring on your hands.)
We've had success with both grocery-store food coloring and the natural food coloring we use for baking.
Store in the fridge. Discard when it becomes sticky or if it starts to seem off.
Want a PDF of the recipe to can print it out? You bet!
Have fun today!