I have a confession to make - I am not a fan of play dough. Every time my kids are gifted some (because I refuse to buy it) it ends up in the bin within days. It goes hard and dry incredibly fast, the colours are garish and gross, and it has an odd chemical smell that really puts me off.
Picking up my boys from pre school one day, I saw them happily playing with dough that they had made that day, and it was a total revelation - soft, smooth, stretchy and smelled lovely! The day care educators were only too happy to pass on their tried and true recipe, and we have now made it at home at least a dozen times.
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 tbsp of oil (olive oil, coconut oil and baby oil all work well)
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1 tbsp of cream of tartar
A few drops of glycerin (optional)
As much food colouring as you like!
Combine the flour, salt, and cream of tartar together in a large mixing bowl
Add the boiling water incrementally, along with the oil and glycerin, and mix until you get a dough consistency.
The glycerin is optional but will give the dough a great stretch and shine.
Roll and knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and pliable.
Separate into portions and knead in food colouring until you have your desired shade.
You can ramp up the sensory experience with a few drops of fragrant oil when you add the liquids (lavender or peppermint are popular here) or throw in some GLITTER (yes I really went there) for a fun variation. Any loose glitter is very quickly and easily collected by rolling the dough back over the surface... I promise!
It keeps well in an airtight container, though making it is half the fun, so even when I toss it out after a couple of weeks, it's great to know that it is so easy and inexpensive to make that I don't mind whipping up a new batch on a lazy Saturday afternoon.