the blog

My Mama's: Playdough

I love listening to my mom talk about " attachment parenting", it cracks me up. "Why do they need to label themselves?" "I did all this stuff with my children, it isn't a movement, it's called being a parent that listens to your instincts"  If only we all realized when we were 16 how full of wisdom our mothers are. 

 So I'm posting a series of My Mama's recipes and activities. They are right in line with what hands on attachment parents are doing right now but these recipes are from 30 + years ago. Tried and true; it brings me joy to share my mothers recipes with my daughters and you. 



*There are a lot of playdough recipes out there. I have tried most of them as a point of comparison for my mothers recipe. This one yields what I believe to be the best playdough. The consistency is great, the color is vibrant, it lasts a long time. 


1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar 
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
food coloring**

Super easy to put together. 

In a medium sized pot, dump all of your ingredients in*(see note about when to add food coloring)  Mix it all together, I use a wooden spoon.  Turn your heat onto low-medium and continue to mix over low heat until the dough starts to form in a ball. When you start to question if it is done, it is starting to look like dough, cook a little longer, always mixing. It starts to form the dough but is still sticky and wet, when it isn't very sticky/wet it is time to take it off. It looks like playdough! 

*Note on food coloring: you can add the food coloring at any point you would like. If you are making large batches of one color, add it when you are cooking it because it is just less mess. The dough will be a ...uhm... dough color, so you can also make a large batch and break it up into portions and add the colors after it has cooled. It is messy, so if you don't want purple hands for the next few days, wear gloves for that method.

** Food Coloring Types: My mom used the regular liquid food coloring found in the grocery store. It's a great option and it's cheap. I've found that especially with Yellow and Orange, you need to add a lot of drops to get a vibrant color. So I have made an adjustment and started using the bakers Gel Food Coloring. Mostly because I do a lot of preschool projects at home and use a lot of food coloring. The Gel Food Coloring is more concentrated and you can use less for a vibrant color. I get the Wiltons Coloring at Michael's in the Cake Decorating Section. They also have a gel food coloring in small tubes now in the grocery store with the other liquid ones, it's not the same as the professional bakers coloring but it also works. 

It will be HOT!

I take it out of the pot and transfer to a sheet of wax paper, I fold the wax paper over it and smoosh it flat as much as I can, cause it is hot. The I put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool down. At this point it is ready.


My mama stored our playdough in old frosting containers. It was the perfect size and good for storage. Of course when I was talking to her the other day about playdough she said  "We didn't have those plastic Ziplock containers back then". Any airtight container will do, the plastic Ziplock ones or plastic sandwich bags. 

Up Keep

Your Playdough will last weeks if you put it away after each play time. If you open it and find it is a bit sticky, you can roll it out with a dusting of flour just like you would a pie crust. If it is a bit dry, but not completely dried out, knead it with a bit of water. 


Play! Play! Enjoy!