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Fun with play dough

play dough monster

We made play dough for the first time last week, and I am wondering why I didn’t try making it earlier. It was fun for the kids, super easy, and way softer than the store-bought stuff. Here’s the recipe we used, handed down from my mom (I halved her recipe to make a smaller batch):

making play dough



1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon oil (we used olive oil, because it’s what we had)
1/2 cup water (add food coloring to water)
1/4 cup salt 
1 tsp cream of tartar

Mix dry ingredients together. Add oil and water (we heated our water first, to make it cook a little faster). Heat over medium heat. Stir constantly until it comes away from sides of pan. Knead slightly. Store in plastic bags or Tupperware. 



play dough and googley eyes

Inspired by this post at Filth Wizardry, I brought out a bunch of googley eyes for my kids to use. Emma made one monster (the tiny one in the photo on the left), but cute as it was it didn’t meet her expectations – so she started a new game called “stuff as many googley eyes into the play dough as possible”. Then the eyes would peek out on their own, creating interesting monsters (see the picture at the top of this page) and occasionally scaring Johnny.

If you like the idea of googley eyes and play dough, you might want to check out the other materials Nicole’s son used in addition to googley eyes in this post at Tired, Need Sleep.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

13 thoughts on “Fun with play dough”

  1. Mary Anne, you should try out peanut butter playdough! My mom made it when I was little and I loved it!!!

    I also have a great recipe for playdough that stores for months. For the Advent season 2009 in Primary I made batches of many different colors of playdough and the Junior Primary got to make one of the Nativity figures. They loved adoring it the weeks after, though it dried and got crumbly; then took their figures home with them. Quinn’s baby Jesus has long since fallen into pieces but the memory remains! :)

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    That monster is fantastic!
    .-= Elisa | blissfulE´s last blog ..Australian redback spider =-.

  3. I LOVE Emma’s monster…and that Johnny was scared by some of them. :) The only thing I don’t like about homemade playdough is the saltiness, and I just love the smell of real Play-doh for some reason. BTW, thanks for the link to Tired, Need Sleep. I absolutely love her Art Box idea. I’ve been tossing around ideas like that in my head, but seeing her ideas is helping me make my ideas more concrete.

  4. OK – even before this post I was thinking that homemade playdoh will be our science project next week. Now I am completely convinced. Love the cute monster in the first picture :)
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..The Math Box – Telling Time =-.

  5. I totally agree about homemade playdough being better than the stuff in the store… softer and so much more fun to play with! Your pictures are so cute!!

  6. That’s funny–on my blog list there were two posts about playdough. And I JUST got ours down from the closet to try this afternoon!! Must be a sign that Ingrid’s ready to play with it and not eat it?? I used to make it for the kid I used to nanny for, but we added the coloring to the actual dough. How does it work in the water, is it still colorful?
    .-= Amber Liddle´s last blog ..Little Gymnast =-.

  7. Wonderful idea … but playdough cleanup is such a nightmare. (Hey I think I have a post drafted on that subject. Thanks for the reminder.)
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Hair styling =-.

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