Let’s face it, playdough is life in any preschool or pre-k classroom. Play dough is always a favorite with young children, and they have lots of fun playing with it, too! Have you ever opened up that store bought play dough, ready for a great learning experience, only to find it crumbly and not fit for use? You can make the best play dough for your classroom, here’s my favorite easy homemade play dough recipe.
Benefits of Making Your Own Playdough
Watch this video that explains why you should make your own play dough.
Here are the four main benefits of making your own playdough:
1. It’s really easy to do! You don’t need a lot of cooking skills to make great playdough that turns out just right – every time.
2. Homemade playdough lasts much longer than purchased dough. Since you can use it for a longer time, homemade dough is more cost-effective and budget-friendly. If play dough is crumbly, children are unhappy and can get off-task much more quickly. Homemade play dough (when done right!) won’t get crumbly.
3. Playdough is excellent for building fine motor skills. These motor skills are important for many life skills – including writing. Building fine motor skills will help fight against hand fatigue when children begin writing regularly.
4. Homemade dough is more pliable and softer than purchased dough. It feels better to the hand. Children may stay engaged longer when playing with homemade play dough.
You can find many recipes for homemade play dough, both cooked and uncooked. Here’s my my favorite play dough recipe below.
- 2 cups white flour
- 1/4 cup cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- food coloring (or other coloring agent – see below)
There are many different ways you can color your dough:
- food coloring – look for neon or other fun colors at seasonal times
- gel food coloring for deeper colors – check the craft section of discount store or craft stores
- Kool-Aid (grape is my favorite)
- liquid watercolor (shown above)
- flavored gelatin
You could also add scented extracts (peppermint, lavender) to give your dough a scent.
How to Make Your Own Playdough
Start by mixing the dry ingredients in a medium size pot. Next, you can add the water, oil, and your food coloring of choice to the pot. Then, mix the ingredients together thoroughly.
Cook your mixture on medium heat, stirring continually. When a ball forms in the middle of the pot, remove from heat. Allow time for the dough to cool.
Then you’ll want to knead the dough as needed.
To ensure that your dough lasts for a long time, store it in an airtight container. Refrigerate your dough when not in use to extend shelf life.