Friday, June 7, 2013


Matthew has been exposed to PlayDo a couple of times and has always hated it. It sticks to his fingers, it's hard to manipulate, and I think he just really didn't see the point of all that trouble.

We love love LOVE the Children's Museum of Phoenix, which deserves, and will receive, a post entirely unto its own. They have this awesome art studio where children can come and play with all kinds of mediums. One day while Matthew was coloring, I noticed their dough. It was malleable and it was cohesive enough that it stuck to itself without crumbling, but it didn't stick to you. They're kind enough to give out their recipe for the dough. I hadn't made play dough in over 15 years so with no standing favorite, we gave theirs a try today.

First, it used all of my salt. I don't think I've ever run out of salt. Ever. I had to get creative to get enough, so I put some kosher salt in the Vitamix.

First, did you know that salt does this when its being ground? I didn't, either.

I eventually had enough salt and I got to making the dough. It requires some stovetop "cooking" but  it took only about 10 minutes, so I hardly think that counts.

I turned it out onto a cutting board to cool. In another 10 (maybe 15) minutes, it was cool enough for me to handle and knead.

I kneaded it and divided it in half. I let Matthew choose which colors he wanted. I tried to get him to help me knead it but at first, he didn't want to touch it. He got one little piece on his finger and did his "abassabassaba" noise that means "get it off me." So, he just watched.

He chose "red" and "blue and green."

I don't know if it was the addition of color or the fact that he watched me for a few minutes but pretty soon he wanted in on the fun. We took it to his little table with some cookie cutters and went to town. He really got into it and enjoyed stamping and punching different shapes. The dough was a little thick to roll out by hand without a rolling pin, but otherwise, it was perfect. Soft and not sticky, and cleanup was a breeze off of our hands, the table, and the bowls I made it in. I think the smile on his face shows that we have a winner.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it. Today is just the first day so I don't know how long it will last but so far, I've been pleased. Plus, it's totally non-toxic so it's safe in case anyone eats any of it (Matthew wouldn't, but I had to shoo Fiona out of the way several times!).

Children's Museum of Phoenix Play Dough Recipe

4 cups flour
2 cups salt
4 cups water
8 tsp cream of tartar
6 TBSP oil
food coloring

Mix together all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook until it holds together and pulls away from the pan. Cool and knead. Separate dough and add food coloring as desired. You can add peppermint or almond extract for scent if you'd like an extra sensory aspect.

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