Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homemade Playdough

I think we've mentioned on here how much we LOVE the daycare that we found for The Bean.

The daycare provider is so wonderful.  She has a strong background in early childhood education and more than that, you can tell that she really cares about the kids in her care.  She does arts and crafts, lots of outings to the drop-in centre, library and parks, and she also places a strong emphasis on the idea that a child is never too young to learn. 

The kids there are also great.  There are only five kids including The Bean.  The next oldest is a two-year-old who is also there full-day.  The older three are ages four and five and spend the morning in kindergarten then come to daycare in the afternoon.  All of the children are only-children and they seem to care for each other in almost a sibling-like way.  When Jen went to pick up The Bean early one day last week the little girl there came over and gave him a hug goodbye.  So sweet.

Anyway, being so happy with everything there and having time off this week to do extra little projects, I thought I'd make a "Happy Spring" gift for each of the kids.  I found a playdough recipe online and made two batches.  

Here is the recipe I used: 


1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon powdered alum
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons vanilla
food coloring

Mix all dry ingredients in a frying pan. Add oil and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until reaching the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and food coloring. Divide into balls and work in color by kneading the playdough. 

I found the final result to be a little dry.  It's possible I overcooked the dough, or maybe it could just use a smidge more oil.  In any case, I think it will be fine and that the kids will enjoy playing with it.  I added vanilla to the green playdough, just like the recipe called for, but I used some lavender essential oil in the blue playdough (which I wanted to be purple, but alas, we were out of red food dye)  and it smells heavenly.  I imagine you could use a few drops of any essential oil to add your desired scent.

To finish things off I rolled the dough into balls and stamped it with a flower-shaped cookie cutter we have, stuck it into plastic baggies and then added a label using some scrapbook paper I had stashed away.  I think they turned out pretty cute.  

I may try a different recipe next time.  I know the Junior Kindergarten teacher at school has a good one she uses all the time.  I'm also interested in experimenting with natural dyes like beet water to add color.   Do you have suggestions either for recipes or dyes?  

Hope you have a wonderful start to your spring! 


  1. So cute! I love the idea of scented playdough. May have to try this one.

  2. that is super cute! and scented too? awesome!!

  3. Spinach water for green :) Tea tree oil would be a great scent addition to green play dough.

    Very cute idea btw!

  4. those are so stinking cute! My sister made Miles scented play dough for his birthday. She used eucalyptus and it smelled AH-mazing. I never thought of adding essential oil, but now we definitely will next time we make a batch. I upped the oil in our last batch and we've had it for a year without it drying out!

  5. Such a great idea!