Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Classic Homemade Playdough

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Dinner was in the crock pot and the Dinner Cooking Hour struck.
I need to cook.  I love to cook.  And the baby was waiting for her daily cooking show.

I decided to go ahead and make a few doughs tonight, just to get it under way... and because I couldn't wait any longer.

Start with the Classic Dough.

This is the dough I made for my nanny babies, students, kids I babysat, and now my kid.
You can add a million things into this dough - fresh herbs or coffee grounds being the most alluring to me.  I'd also like to make it with herbal tea water instead of regular water.

For this batch I kept it unscented and dyed it blue.  It oddly turned seafoam green.
I also doubled the recipe below, making about 3.5 cups total and costing under $2.

1 c Flour
1 c Water
1/4 c Salt
1 TBS Oil (I used vegetable, but in retrospect, I should have used lavender oil... next time!)
2 tsp Cream of Tarter
Food coloring
Sauce pan & wooden spoon

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan.  Stir well, and place over medium heat.  At first, stir it every 20-30 seconds, giving it a good scrape around the edges of the pot.  I find that constant stirring will wear you out, but if you let it cook just a little then stir, it comes together without giving you Rambo forearms.  Particularly if you doubled the recipe.  When it gets clumpy, turn the heat to low.

Once it starts to form a ball and comes off the bottom of the pan, turn it onto the counter or a plate.  Let it cool for a few minutes, if you can resist, and kneed it a few times.  This is my favorite part.  I love when the dough is still warm and at its squishiest.  

V. had played with salt dough, pasta dough, cookie dough, and Play-Doh before, most experiences ending prematurely due to a propensity to eat the dough by the mouthful.  Now, a bit older, she gets that playdough it isn't for eating.  (The sensory bin is not at the table behind her because she was sneaking bites of cloud dough...) 

If it isn't for eating, what is it for?

She really got into it!

I made a cat for her.
Since having the sensory bin out, V. has learned that I will let her use most anything to explore with.  When I started the Jell-o dough I was shaking the packet, and she promptly requested it.  She spent 5 minutes pinching off small balls of dough to put into the beg through the corner I tore off.

Why I like this dough:  It is easy to make using ingredients I have.  It is soft, it doesn't dry out as quickly as other doughs (it is all about the salt - don't choose one with more than 1/4c salt per batch) and you can stir in all sorts of things to make it a more sensory experience.  Think of all the textures and scents you or the kids could mix in!

Things I would change: nothing.  If you make it right, it isn't sticky, doesn't stain, and is smooth.

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