Good tools for playing with playdough are a rolling pin (for flattening), cookie cutters and empty NutriDay tubs (for stamping out shapes), and plastic knives, forks and toothpicks for marking the dough. See below for more smart playdough tips.
Here’s a quick recipe for playdough. This keeps for a long time in the fridge, and although it is safe for kids, it should not be eaten as it contains a lot of salt.
HOW TO MAKE PLAYDOUGH ½ cup (125 ml) table salt
1 ½ cups (375 ml) water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) sunflower oil
A few drops of food colouring of your choice 2 cups (500 ml) white flour
1 tsp (5 ml) cream of tartar (look on the baking shelf at your supermarket)
- In a large pot, mix together the salt, water, oil and food colouring.
- Place over a medium heat. As soon as the mixture comes to the boil, remove from the heat and add all the flour plus the cream of tartar.
- Using a big spoon, quickly and thoroughly mix to form a slightly crumbly dough. If it looks too dry, add a little more hot water.
- Tip out onto a board, allow to cool a little, then knead for at least five minutes, or until the dough is smooth, springy and slightly shiny.
- Store in the fridge in a lidded plastic container, or tightly wrapped in clingfilm.
- If you would like to make the dough in two colours, divide all the ingredients in the recipe in half, and make two batches, each in a different colour.
- A kitchen counter (or wooden board) makes a practical surface for playing with playdough.
- If your children are likely to make a mess, buy a heavy plastic sheet that will catch loose `crumbs’. Wipe-clean plastic placemats are another good alternative.
- Designate a special playdough box (a large lidded plastic container is ideal) in which you store all the necessary equipment. When playtime is over, rinse everything clean and pack it away ready for next time. Top tip: a 600 g NutriDay tub makes an excellent container for storing the playdough itself because it has a snap-on lid.
- Empty NutriDay tubs from a six-pack are ideal for keeping small playdough sculptures soft and pliable for a few days. Pop the ‘creations’ into the tubs, cover with clingfilm and store in the fridge until the kids are ready to get modelling again!
- Yoghurt tubs can also be used for stamping out shapes.
- For advanced sculptors, add a ravioli-cutting wheel and a garlic press to your playdough kit. The first makes crinkly lines on playdough, the second makes marvellous stringy `hair’.