Homemade play was a staple of our early home educating life and the recipe (which in the days before Pinterest or even Google) I learned from playgroup teachers and has remained my go to one ever since.
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of salt
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1-2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (I prefer more rather than less but tends to depend on what was in the pot!)
Chuck it all in a pan on a low heat and stir till a solid and non sticky mess then lift it out on to a floured worktop and gently knead, adding more flour if needs be until the ideal consistency. I tended to make double quantities (4 children) and then divide it into quarters and add food colouring and essential oils to the different lumps to alter it, for example yellow colouring and lemon oil, green colouring with sage or rosemary oil, blue or purple with lavender oil, orange with mandarin or red with patchouli.
Now, I never had ANY problems using a drop of any of these in playdough with my girls but there is more information about these days and you might choose to consult the ‘ essential oils that are safe with children‘ list here and make some alterations for the two I used for green.
Things having moved on, lots of clever people have made play dough a hugely inventive thing now so here are some popular alternatives from around the internet.
6 Great Play Dough Recipes
No Cook Playdough from The Imagination Tree.
Cloud Dough is a soft, fluff mouldable play stuff but as it is made with baby oil, you need to be sure it won’t get eaten.
Gluten Free Play Dough – with a coeliac in our wider family, this is a happy find as I’ve felt very guilty when she has come to our house and not been able to play with what was already made.
Ice Cream Dough is made with hair conditioner and cornstarch and apparently looks and smells like ice cream.
Sand Play Dough has a a great sensory feel and is quite different.
UK Solid Jelly Play Dough sounds divine and seems to be very popular as an idea and something that feels and smells quite different.
The great thing about the internet of course is there is now Pinterest and so a wealth of ideas and recipes can all be collated in one place. Take a look.
It has to be said, my kids still love shop bought playdohas a treat, so if nothing else will do, you could always use this affiliate link to buy some.