Invented in 1956, Play-Doh has been keeping kids like mine occupied for over 50 years. The exact formula for the store-bought variety is still a trade secret, but there are a lot of recipes for homemade play dough out there. You can make edible play dough, “earth friendly” play dough, “clay” dough, both cooked and uncooked, and the more traditional variety.
The recipe below is a variation on one I heard on Martha Stewart. Her recipe calls for food coloring to add color to the mixture. I use unsweetened Kool-Aid (any variety) instead, mainly because if I don’t, the play dough winds up smelling like feet.
If you keep the play dough in an airtight container, it can last for months without refrigeration. While the texture is very similar to commercial Play-Doh, I actually like the homemade version better because it’s smoother and doesn’t stick to my son’s fingers.
Makes 3 ½ cups of dough.
In a medium saucepan, mix together the flour, salt, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, and water. Cook uncovered over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Stir constantly until the dough is the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Now divide the dough into four equal portions. Add unsweetened Kool-Aid to each portion and knead the color into the dough to distribute it evenly. Kneading the Kool-Aid into the dough is really the most fun part of the process. My 2 ½-year old just loves it.