I have had lots of requests for my playdough recipe so I am going to post it here along with a few tips I've learned from making it MANY times.
1 c. flour
1/2 cup salt
1 T. cooking oil
1 T. cream of tartar
1 c. water
Food coloring of your choice
Add-ins of your choice (i.e. spices, extracts, glitter, etc.)
Stir ingredients together well. Just measure them into the saucepan you will be using to cook the dough, but mix them well before heating up the pan. Over medium heat cook the dough, stirring constantly until it forms a ball. (NOTE: When it starts to pull away from the sides somewhat and clump together and most of the "wet-looking" parts look dry, it's ready to remove from the pan.) Turn dough onto a board (or the countertop) and knead until very smooth. (NOTE: It will be pretty warm to the touch, but try to knead it until it becomes a nice, smooth ball. If it feels sticky, you can work a little more flour into it and it will be fine.) Cool. Store in a covered plastic container OR in a sealed ziploc bag. (ANOTHER NOTE: This dough does seem to always stick in the saucepan somewhat. I have tried spraying the pan first, but I still have a crusty residue on the pan when I'm finished. I am used to this now and just plan on soaking the pan after I make a batch. I just wanted you to know about that though so you wouldn't think you had goofed something up if that happens.)
When I add spices, I usually start with about a teaspoon (though I never actually use a spoon). I just shake a bunch in until I think it's going to produce the desired level of scent. (I like a LOT of scent.) If you are adding an extract like vanilla or peppermint, for example, probably just a teaspoon will be enough, but you can experiment with a little more than that. Also add gradually if you are doing glitter. I would still start with only about a teaspoon and go from there.
If you would like a printable copy of the above recipe without the hassle of copying and pasting it into your own document, click on the link below.
This recipe makes a good-sized ball of dough. It is plenty for my two boys to each have a nice piece to roll and form. In my classroom I have found that a lump of dough a little larger than a child's fist is plenty for one child at a time to work with. If you give them too big a ball of dough it can become difficult for them to work with.
ALSO: The BEST rolling pin that I've come up with is a 6-inch length of a 1-inch wooden dowel. My dad made one for the boys several years ago. He sanded it so the ends are smooth and put several coats of clear polyurethane on the dowel so the dough doesn't stick at all. If you are a parent in my class reading this and have woodworking skills (or know someone who does) I would LOVE to have a few rolling pins like this for school. We have one at home, but it is used often by my boys, so I haven't been able to take it to school. We just have a plain wooden one that the dough always sticks to.
Several people have said they are thinking of using the dough as Christmas gifts. One cool idea for a child you see often is a "Dough-of-the-Month" club. You could make a different dough for the child each month accompanied by a seasonal cookie cutter. OR find a large bucket or basket and make up the doughs ahead of time and give them all at once. They DO last a long time when sealed in an airtight container. Some ideas for combinations might include: January--white dough with white glitter OR "snow dough" and a snowman or snowflake cutter; February--pink dough with red glitter and a heart cutter; March--green dough with gold glitter and a shamrock cutter; April--purple dough scented with lavendar oil and an egg cutter; May--yellow dough with lemon extract and a flower cutter; June--blue dough with a boat cutter; July--small balls of red, white and blue dough with a star cutter; August--yellow dough with gold glitter and a sun cutter; September--plain dough (no coloring) with apple pie spices and an apple cutter (or red dough with apple pie spices); October--orange dough with pumpkin pie spices and a pumpkin cutter; November--orange or brown dough with pumpkin pie spices and a turkey cutter; December--gingerbread dough (use lots of cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves) with a gingerbread cutter OR green dough with peppermint extract and gold glitter and a tree cutter OR red dough with peppermint extract and gold glitter and a candy cane cutter.