Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to Make Homemade Play Dough

"Pretty soon, all your friends will be married with kids and the only friend you'll have left is your cousin's baby," said my mom, who was giving me one of her many old maid lectures.

Homemade Play Dough 1

And literally right then and there, in strolled baby M, cousin t's daughter. (Cousin t, lower case, is not to be confused with Oregon cousin T, upper case.) The oldest '87 had a lunch date and figured baby M would want to play with me, or maybe she just didn't feel like babysitting?

Baby M immediately headed into my kitchen, where I kept my mini pots and pans set. Yes, it's mine! I only let baby M play with it when she comes over. ;)

Instead of pretending to eat tasty "air," I decided to make her some play dough. I halved the recipe and divided it into two for two colors. I also didn't have any Kool-Aid on hand so just ordinary food coloring was fine. Boiling water wasn't needed either.

Homemade Play Dough 2

Homemade Play Dough
Adapted from Creative Kids at Home's Kool-Aid Play Dough

For two 1/2 cup size portions of play dough, you'll need:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2/3 cup hot water
2 tblsp oil
6 drops or so of each food color

In each of two bowls, add 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup salt, 1/3 cup hot water, 1 tblsp oil, and about 6 drops of the food coloring of your choice. Green and red worked well for me. I've tried it with blue and you'll need a lot or else the color ends up rather gray.

Mix the dough for several minutes until it comes together. You might need to add a bit more water or flour or salt if things don't appear right. The oil is necessary to keep things from getting too sticky.

You should eventually get a lump of dough that looks like what you see below.

Homemade Play Dough 3

At first, baby M was afraid to touch it. So she poked the play dough with various spoons and utensils.

Homemade Play Dough 4

Then once I whipped out my cookie cutters, she really started having fun. Kept her occupied for hours.

Homemade Play Dough 5

Homemade Play Dough 6

Homemade Play Dough 7

Homemade Play Dough 8

Homemade Play Dough 9

Store the play dough in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. The oil might start to separate so you may have to knead the dough again before playing with it. It should be good for several days.

And don't accidentally fall asleep or you might wake up to find green play dough embedded in your carpet. Not that I know anything about that. Uh, huh.

If you don't want to make play dough, dry pasta and beans works well too. Just remember to choose larger shapes such as penne or bowtie pasta. Rice and star pasta might seem like fun, but are a pain to clean up.

Homemade Play Dough 10

"Auntie, play pasta," says baby M.

Aww, how cute! You ain't seen nothing yet. She also learned to say, "rolling pin." Stay tuned for chocolate ginger cookies, so easy even a 2-year-old can make them.

Who else made homemade play dough?
Susan of Open Mouth, Insert Fork has a cooked version.

My other non-edible recipes:
Laundry Detergent
Sugar Body Scrub

1 year ago today, Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea).
2 years ago today, the perfect bowl of ramen and meltingly tender pork at Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice-Bowl - Los Angeles (Little Tokyo).


  1. Ah! A baker in the making! What a great idea to keep a two-year old happy and occupied.

  2. I hear from my family that I am getting closer to "30" and should start thinking about having kids? Coming from a big family make only sense to take your time on having kids... Very cute kid and Smart to know what to do with the little cookie cutters!

  3. i also get the when are you busting out kids talk, especially now that i'm 31 going on 21 (FOREVER). i think they're finally coming to the realization that i don't have much interest in getting married so now they look at me rather pity-ingly. sigh.

    i adore this idea of homemade play do. all my friends are busting out with kids and if they ever require me to babysit their brood, *this* is exactly what i would have the kids play with - boy or girl.

  4. ps. i heart your new banner.
    aren't cousins the greatest for designing banners?! :)

  5. Hey thanx for this idea ! it's much better than Play-Doo and not dangerous if the kid put the hand in her mouth. Your cousin's daughter must have had fun with your kitchen molds ;-)

  6. Ahh, she's adorable!
    My mom used to make playdoh for me as a kid too, I looooved the stuff!

  7. Nikki,
    To keep me occupied too. I was getting bored playing the same thing over and over. ;)

    I think every Asian family is like that! And I think it's better to be safe than sorry!

    Duuude! Stop being me! My cousin asks if I want babies yet. I said I'll just play with hers, and when she soils her diaper, I hand her back. :)

    I love that it's completely non-toxic.

    My mom once made a mini-cake for me to decorate and let me throw a party for my Cabbage Patch doll. I loved it!

  8. Excellent! :) probably safer than the real play-do at that age too!

  9. Christelle,
    Yup. Completely safe and non-toxic.


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