Have you ever made playdough? May I confess? I have six children, ages 15 to 5, and before this week I had only ever made playdough once in my lifetime! That seems a bit selfish somehow.
I decided to remove this blight from my mommy-record and make playdough this week for my twins. Since Tuesday, we’ve made no less than seven batches! That’s a lot of playdough. One of those batches was for my 13 year old. Another surprise. Maybe if I’d made more playdough with him when he was little, he wouldn’t have been so inclined, but truthfully they just wanted to have a molding war. (Boys!)
Making your own playdough is fast, inexpensive, easy, and fun! I thought it might be good to share with you some lessons learned so your hands don’t end up covered in red dye.
Tips to Make Playdough Quickly
Tip One: Make sure you have all the ingredients for playdough before you tell your five year old, “We’re going to make playdough today.” Yep, multiply that times two disappointed five year olds and you will understand why I found myself driving to the grocery store at 3 in the afternoon with five year old twins in tow.
Most recipes for playdough will include flour, salt, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil. Just go ahead and add these things to your grocery list right now.
Tip Two: If you have more than one child, make sure you have enough ingredients to make every.single.child their own batch of playdough. That’s 1/2 cup of salt per child, a lotta salt if you have six kids.
Tip Three: Did I mention that making your own playdough is fast? Get the ingredients out ahead of time, measure the water, have everything sitting next to the pot.
Tip Four: Let your kids help. They will think you are amazing. If your 13 year old wants his own — do what I did and tell him to make his own without help. It’s good practice for being a dad.
Tip Five: Do not, and I repeat DO NOT decide to split one batch into two colors by adding the dye AFTER you take it off the stove. Your fingers will be red for days. Just trust me on this one, and make a different batch for each color, adding the dye when you add the water on the stove. Trust me.
Tip Six: Soak your saucepan right away. You will thank me later.
Tips to Make Playdough Inexpensively
Making playdough is inexpensive. When you make playdough, consider these tips for getting the most bang for your buck.
Tip One: Make sure you have zipper bags or plastic containers with lids. It will keep a very long time in a sealed container.
Tip Two: Buy the cheapest cream of tartar you can find. a McCormicks Jar is almost $5.99 on Amazon for 2.6 ounces. One jar makes about three and a half batches. On the other hand, a big 2-pound container of Badia Cream of Tartar on Amazon is only $17.98. If you think your kids might like this, buy the jug now so you have it in two days with Prime Shipping. One more reason I love Amazon Prime.
Tip Three: Use cheap food dye. I thought my cake decorating gels were more expensive, but it turns out they are a better deal at $1.65 per ounce and it doesn’t take as much to make gorgeous playdough. McCormicks at the grocery store was $2.50 an ounce (four small vials). Add cake decorating gel dyes to your shopping list.
Tricks to Make Playdough Easily
Making playdough is easy! It’s a quick process, and the finished product stores for days in a zipper bag. Here are some tricks to make the process go a little smoother.
Trick One: Measure your dry ingredients directly into your saucepan, and have your child mix the ingredients before turning on the heat. Thoroughly mixed dry ingredients make a smoother playdough.
Trick Two: Many of the recipes include extra ingredients like apple-scented shampoo. This will replace some of the liquid, so put about 1 ounce less water into the playdough then what your recipe calls for. Add more water as necessary, but this will prevent you from having a dough that is too wet.
Trick Three: You can use a paper plate for kneading the dough at the end if you don’t have any wax paper. Or you could just go add wax paper to your grocery list right now. Either one works, but I kinda like using a paper plate. I just handed the boys their dough on a paper plate and let them knead it themselves. It also helps contain the crumbs.
Tricks to Make Playdough Fun (and Educational!)
My friend Jill at Blessed Beyond a Doubt introduced me to scented playdough and playdough mats when she posted Apple Pie Scented Playdough and Mats and encouraged me to write a similar post with a Pumpkin Pie variation on the scent. What fun this is! My boys were beside themselves with excitement when we experimented with different pumpkin scent variations for my blog post. Then they found out we were making Apple Playdough. Seasonal playdough colors, scents, and play mats take this playdough fun to a whole new level.
Tip One: Use fun colors. Like neon. Everybody loves neon playdough.
Tip Two: Use cool scents. Like apple-scented shampoo for instance. It makes the playdough awesome.
Tip Three: Find fun playdough mats, print them out, laminate them, and have them on hand.
I figured the easiest way to help you with this was to link to my favorite recipes and playdough mats right here. Bookmark this page, and come back!
Pumpkin Pie Playdough with Printable from Blessed Beyond a Doubt (yours truly!)
Apple Pie Scented Playdough and Mats from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Orange Sherbert Playdough and Printable Circus Pals from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Carrot Cake Smelly Playdough from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Rainbow Glitter Salt Dough from Imagination Tree
No Cook Playdough Recipe from Imagination Tree
Three Edible Playdough Recipes from Moms Who Think
KoolAid Playdough Recipe from the 36th Avenue
No Cook Coconut Playdough Recipe from Learning 4 Kids
Neapolitan Scented Playdough Recipe from Learning 4 Kids
Blackberry Playdough Recipe from Learning 4 Kids
Free Printable Playdough Mats
Free Shapes Playdough Mats from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Free Nativity Story Playdough Mats from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Free St. Patricks Day Playdough Mats from Blessed Beyond a Doubt
Playdough Math Mats from Prekinders
Squirrel Playdough Mats from Prekinders
Cookie Playdough Mats from Prekinders
Farm Yard Playdough Mats from Prekinders
Gingerbread Playdough Mats from Prekinders
Funny Faces Playdough Mats from Sparkle Box
Birthday Cake Playdough Mats from Busy Bags
Flower Playdough Mats from Learn with Play at Home