We tried play dough for the first time this week and to be honest, it wasn't a huge hit. BUT! Making the dough only took twenty minutes, I had all the ingredients on hand (so it didn't cost anything), and it was a practically mess-free activity. So they played with it for 10 minutes? Oh well. The dough is supposed to store well for months; we'll try it again soon.
I was really happy with the "recipe" though, so I thought I'd share it with you. The dough came out buttery and soft, it wasn't smelly, and it didn't leave much of a nasty residue on our hands. I haven't handled any real play dough in years but this was all I wanted it to be. Not to mention that it was made out of edible items so no need to worry about the kids taste tasting it like they do everything
See what I mean?
Play Dough, recipe by MaryAnn F. Kohl, found at Tinkerlab
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups iodized salt (table salt)
1 1/2 tablespoons cream of tartar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour
In a medium saucepan mix together everything except for the food coloring. The mixture will be lumpy and that is ok.
Turn the burner on low and cook the dough mixture, stirring almost constantly. As it cooks the dough will begin to form up and you will see it beginning to look solid and dry as you stir it away from the bottom and edges of the pan.
Keep stirring and cooking until the dough is no longer sticky. Turn off the heat and turn the dough out onto your countertop. If you are worried that food coloring might stain your counters, tape down a large piece of parchment paper first.
Divide the dough up for as many colors as you want to make. I made just three: blue, yellow and green. Knead your (plain) dough while it is still warm until it is smooth. Make sure to knead it well! I didn't knead my first batch long enough so my blue has some white flecks in it. (Not that the kids noticed, but still) Once it is very smooth flatten the dough a bit and drip some of your chosen color onto the center. Fold the dough over and knead the color in until it is even and smooth.
According to Tinkerlab, the dough keeps well for months in an airtight container. I used a simple plastic storage container. The recipe made plenty of dough for my two twinkies to be well stocked for a while.