Making Play Dough

Children LOVE play dough and it should be available every day. There is such good work that happens when children get their hands into the dough. There will be stages of development of course. To begin, you will see those with developing muscles tend to pound the dough with their full hands spread open. As muscles strengthen, they begin to roll the dough into balls and logs and finally they begin to pinch the dough into shapes. This, of course, happens over time and not in one sitting! When you make your dough, be sure to add scents such as all spice or cinnamon, and add color with food coloring. All the senses can be engaged when you add these elements and that adds to the interest. If you have cookie cutters, great, add those in. If you don’t have cookie cutters, look in your kitchen drawers for utensils that might be fun. Forks, rolling pins, spoons, potato mashers and plastic jar lids make great play dough utensils!

This is one of the best play dough recipes I know. Feel free to use it and share it! It makes 3 pounds so you can share it with your neighbor’s children too. (This does use flour and is not gluten free.) If you need a gluten free recipe, send me a message and I will share one with you!

Play Dough Recipe (3-lb. Batch)

3 cups flour

1 ½ cups salt

2 tbsp cream of tartar

3 cups water

3 tbsp vegetable oil

Wilton food color

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl (flour, salt, cream of tartar) and set aside.

Add water, oil and food color to cold pan on a cold burner.

Slowly whisk dry ingredients into pan of liquids.  Whisk until lump-free.

Put pan onto heated burner (medium to medium-high heat).

Cook and turn over with spatula until solid.

Turn out onto cool counter. 

Knead, knead, knead.

Flip, flip, flip until cool enough to roll into a big ball & put in a freezer gallon ziploc bag.

Play Dough Measurements (3-lb. Batch) These measurements, using Wilton Food Color, make the most wonderful colors. If you go to the bottom of the list, you will find specific recommendations for spice additions.

Wilton Food Color:

Yellow – ½ tsp

Orange – ½ tsp

Green – ½ tsp

Pink – ½ tsp

Teal Blue – ½ tsp

Purple – ¼ tsp

Brown – ½-1 tsp

Black – 2-3 tsps

White – 1 tbsp

Blue – almost 1 tsp

Red – 2-3 tsps

Ground Seasonings:

Apple Pie – 2 tbsp (no food color)

Cinnamon – 2 tbsp (no food color)

Gingerbread – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp ginger, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp allspice (no food color)

Pumpkin Pie – 2 tbsp

(plus ¼ tsp yellow & 1/8 tsp red)

Flavored Cooking Oils:

Peppermint – 1 ½ tbsp.

Orange – 2 tbsp

Vanilla – 2-3 tbsp

Lemon – 3 tbsp

Glitters: Use caution with adding glitter. Not recommended for very young children. Glitter makes beautiful dough but can get in the eyes. If you add it, supervise your children’s play dough time.

1 ½ – 3 tbsp

Fluorescent Paints: These are such fun to make and the children are truly drawn to the colors.

1/3 cup for every color


See you tomorrow.


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