Playdough is a fun, low-budget way to encourage creativity and keep the kids busy for an afternoon. They'll even love popping on their aprons and helping you cook it up in the kitchen. Follow this easy recipe for basic playdough and whip up a batch for the cost of a bit of flour and salt.
Basic playdough recipe
- 2 cups plain flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
- Food colouring, optional
- Combine the flour, water, salt, oil and cream of tartar in a pan or pot on the stove.
- Take the pan to medium heat and keep stirring the mixture for several minutes.
- When the mixture becomes thick and starts to shrink into the centre of the pan, remove from heat and knead the dough until firm.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. If you wish to dye the playdough a particular colour, add a few drops of food colouring and knead until the whole mixture is even in colour. Alternatively, cut the dough into portions and create a few different colours. Older kids will especially love this when they're creating more complicated masterpieces.
- Let cool, then hand over to the kids to see what amazing creations they come up with!
A great way to make an interesting, personalised playdough mix is to knead in something like glitter or sand to add texture to the batch.
Fun playdough ideas
- Playdough is a great tool to inspire creativity in your kids, as well as reinforce the idea of sharing and working together. Whip up a big batch and divide it amongst your children and their friends, then invite everyone to come up with their own unique creations.
- Playdough is loved by kids of all ages -- the little ones are fascinated by its texture (and, unfortunately, its taste!), while the older ones will love making figurines and scenes.
- It's also a great way for shy children to slowly get involved in play without being forced into one-on-one communication.
- Make sure the work surface is suitable for playdough and put plastic or newspaper under your kids' chairs to protect the carpet.
- Play a game similar to Pictionary or charades, where one person has to create an object out of playdough and the other players have to guess it. (Make a bunch of cards with different objects written on them to help your little players along.)
- Use cookie cutters to make different shapes.
- Press coins and other textured objects into the playdough to see the reverse print.
- Make plaits or garlands of playdough by weaving different coloured lengths together.
- Create your ultimate dream meal out of different coloured playdough.
- Make playdough balls and play miniature putt-putt or tenpin bowling with household objects like empty milk cartons.
- Free play! Remember to give your children plenty of opportunities to try out their own ideas without having to stick to guidelines.
- Once your kids have finished playing with the playdough, store it in an airtight container e.g. an old ice-cream container.