Friday, January 20, 2012

Best ever homemade play dough!

We have a rainy day tradition around here that Lily really loves.  On rainy days, or at least on the ones when we both remember, she gets to play with our special homemade play dough.  I'm sure this play dough is basically the same as ever other recipe for homemade play dough, but it's the recipe we used when I was a kid, so it holds a special place in my heart.  I don't think we ever had store-bought play dough in our house; this stuff is just so much better!

Did I just take and post a picture of a lump of blue play dough on one of my white wedding china saucers?  Why yes, I did.  This stuff is just that good, I tell you!  That, or I'm just a little odd.  Meh.  We won't parse that one out right now.

While the ingredients and process are incredibly simple, the end result of this recipe really is just unbeatable and basically everlasting.  I made my first batch last Valentine's Day and we just replaced it this week.  Not because it was dried out or nasty, just because, well, I figure an annual color change is a good idea.  So, without further ado, here's the recipe:

In a medium sauce pan mix:

1 cup white flour
1/4 cup salt
2 T cream of tartar

Combine and add to above:

1 cup water
1 T vegetable oil
food coloring of choice (see note below)

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  It will become a globby, nasty looking mess, but just power through that part!  It's done when it forms a ball in the center of the pan.  Some of it may still look a bit goopy, but go ahead and take it out of the pan once a fairly good ball forms.  Turn it out onto lightly floured counter (food coloring could stain formica) or cutting board and knead.  It'll thicken right up and became a perfect play dough consistency as you knead.  It will be pretty hot when you start kneading (obviously), but you can take the heat.  Once cooled, store it in a zip top bag and this stuff will last FOREVER.  Seriously, ours lasted an entire year without drying out a smidge!  (If it does dry a little, though, just splash a few drops of water onto it and knead.  Good as new.)

As far as the food coloring goes, the original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of the stuff.  Holy gracious, that is WAY more than you need for this amount of dough.  I used one good squirt (maybe 15-20 drops) for the play dough in the picture and it's a really rich, beautiful color.

So there you have it!  The best play dough you'll ever make!  I promise your kids will love it, and it'll give you many blessed minutes of peace while they play with it.  Woo hoo!  Win win, baby.

Do you have any rainy day traditions?  Tell me about them!