Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Making Playdough: Science for Kids in the Kitchen

Never underestimate your power of creativity as a parent; 
To create an opportunity for a child will be your greatest work. 

The aroma of homemade play dough cooking on the stove takes me back to the first time my grandmother made a batch. The smell was as curious as the idea that my grandmother could make her very own play dough. To think that my grandmother knew the secrets to one of the most fun and imaginative toys would surely mean that she possessed supernatural or divine  knowledge. I am sure my image of her changed from that day forward. An exhibition of pure wizardry.

Homemade Playdough 

Large pot
Wooden spoon

2 Cups AP Flour + 1/2 Cup flour reserved for kneading dough after cooking.
2 3/4 Cups Warm Water
1 Cup Iodized Salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons Canola or Vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Cream of Tartar (this is optional but it does improve elasticity)
Food Coloring (Liquid, powdered or unsweetened drink mix)

1. Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium to large pot. Stir the dry ingredients together to combine.
2. Stir in warm water and oil.
3. Turn heat on under pot to a medium to medium low heat and stir slowly but constantly. As the mixture combines and starts to cook it will resemble mashed potatoes and be very sticky. Using elbow grease constantly stir to avoid burning or scorching.
4. After dough mixture becomes hot and is cooking continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes to thoroughly cook the dough. When the dough is finished cooking it will pull away from the side of the pot, sticking to the spoon in a clump or ball.
Note: Test your dough by touching your finger (careful, it will be hot) to the clump or ball. Tacky is fine but sticky is not cooked. Continue to cook until dough is tacky to touch (does not cling to finger) and has the appearance and texture of Play-doh.
5. Remove your dough from the pot and place on the counter or platter, draped with a dish towel and allow to cool for a few minutes until you are able to knead it by hand.
6. To knead, flatten the dough, fold and flatten. Repeat for 2 minutes.
Note: During the end of kneading time if you are planning to add coloring divide your dough into equal pieces of dough to your desired colors and one at a time knead in your coloring. Be sure to slowly add coloring so as not to use too much-You can always add, but you cannot subtract.
7. Once kneaded, colored and cooled keep your play dough in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
8. Play.
This recipe divided into 4  colors makes a good amount.

According to my official tester Bailey,
this dough is perfect.
Imagination at play.

"No no. You can't eat it."

The practice of making homemade playdough in the home has been a tradition of many for years. The different types of salts or coloring agents and even scents are as diverse as the methods used to combine them. One consistent element of this recipe is that the practice is carried on from generation to generation.

For a another great recipe and some scenting and play tips check out this fun link for King Arthur Flour.

1 comment:

  1. Another fun post using food stuff to entertain your kids with!! Thanks for sharing it Graham!!