Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rainy Day Activity:

Homemade Play Dough

Rainy days have an interesting rhythm to them -- slow and quiet and thoughtful. A rainy day is a welcome change from the frenetic pace we usually keep. As the drops drum gently on our windowpanes, we watch the birds hopping around the bird feeder, trying to stay dry. Rainy days, like today, are days for board games and reading books, for puzzles and building blocks. They are days we just feel grateful our home is warm and dry -- our little haven.

I like to set aside a few special activities for days like this. Homemade Play Dough is one we love. We got the recipe a few years ago from our favorite Kindergarten teacher.

I help the children to make it, allowing them to measure the ingredients and carefully stir the pot on the stove. Once the mixture needs to be kneaded, many hands make light work.

Here is what you'll need:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
2 cups water
2 Tbs oil
3 tsp food coloring -- blue, red, green, or yellow

And here's what you do:

Mix together the first three ingredients in a medium-size saucepan. Add wet ingredients (water, oil, and coloring) and mix together. Stir and stir over low heat on the stove -- don't stop! The mixture should thicken until it becomes like mashed potatoes. When it does, turn off the heat and dump the mixture out on a floured board to knead it.

I knead the first few turns, until the mixture cools a bit and becomes easier to handle. I fold the dough toward myself and press the heel of my hand into it. Then, I turn it a quarter-turn. Again, I fold the top down toward me and press. Then, I let the kids try their hands at it.

When the dough is the right consistency, they can play with it right away or you can store it in an airtight container. As long as it is put away after playing, it stays pliable for a nice long time.

Maybe even until the next rainy day.

- Midwest Mom


  1. We made this years ago and dyed it green--I added some peppermint extract to make it smell better and one day a babysitter tried to eat it--thought it was candy!

  2. That reminds me of my childhood. My mom used to make us homemade playdough every once in a while. :)

  3. I can remember the fragrance "Eau de Playdoh" like it was yesterday. I had the kids make checker game pieces and tick tack toe pieces that hardened and were used a lot --- until the dog ate some!

  4. My husband and I both hate the smell of play dough, so I frequently make it myself. For Christmas I even made chocolate playdough. It smelled soooo good! I'm liking green girls suggestion of the peppermint extract!

  5. Wow, I remember when rainy days were like that.
    It was when I only had one mobile child ;)

  6. We love homemade play dough so much fun to make and play :)

  7. Thanks! We have been going through a lot of playdough lately and I am thrilled to have my hands on a way to make my own. Plus all of our pliable dough is a lovely shade of puke since Austin loves to mix the colors and push them through his "spaghetti maker."

  8. Tried this once and nearly was institutionalized. The Matron is not for Craft.


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