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::: patterned playdough & a new recipe!


Playdough is one of those perennial favourites that children will play with day after day. Just using little fingers and hands in it is a wonderful sensory and fine motor activity.

Sometimes we added other props such as shells or beads …

cutting implements …

maybe cookie cutters…

and baking trays.

You can colour it or not, make it smelly or not, make it textured or not, add glitter or sand.

It is very versatile.

At Ellie V Pullin they put out rolling pins with rubber shapes on them …

which gave the playdough an interesting look.

We had picked up some wooden shapes from Resource Rescue and thought the children might like to have a go at rolling them in the playdough too.

For no cost, they were a great alternative!

We decided we would test out the wooden shapes on a new playdough recipe – one we’d never tried before …

This is Teacher Tom’s Mom’s very special playdough recipe – he swears it’s the best receipe EVER!

We love to include the children in as much of the preparation and  process as possible …

right down to writing out the recipe!

Now, we don’t normally cook our playdough and the children thought it was very interesting that we were going to cook it on the stove top like food!

We were pretty sceptical too …

but we’ve got to say Mrs.Hobson …

it was voted irresistible indeed!!!


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43 Responses to “patterned playdough & a new recipe!”

  1. avatar Alana says:

    Do you think this recipe could be adapted to use in the microwave? I have a microwave playdough recipe of my own that works really well and is always a bit hit with the kids, but I find depending on the microwave it can dry out very quickly. It’s still a lot easier than cooking it on the stove, quicker too! And less risk of burning the batch :)

  2. avatar faebellamum says:

    i thought this was how everyone cooked it ? it is one of the the recipes from the Play school book , “The New Useful Book” . (my original Early childhood ideas bible )just doubled quantities . the kids love to then be able to need it and enjoy the feel of it while still warm.

    ::: We do have the Playschool book faebellamum but for years now we have used hot water as opposed to cooking it on the stove. :) :)


  3. YEAH! A new play dough recipe is just what I need! Time to toss out the old batch and make room for some squishy goodness!

    ::: Jill tomorrow we will share you some other play dough recipes too! :) :)

  4. avatar lisa says:

    I have used a similar recipe, using koolaid (cheap brands, though) to color the dough. Smells yummy. My son works for SparkFun and they have a cool video showing a two year old connecting a circuit with playdough. Very cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuctJfIhNyI&feature=player_embedded

    ::: I don’t think we have koolaid here in Australia Lisa but we have heard of people using it in playdough before. Thanks For the link we will check out the video. :) :)

  5. avatar Kristah says:

    This is my favorite recipe too. If you add food coloring, scents, or koolaid to water before you add ingredients it works better. As a teacher I still love playing with playdo. I like the idea of using blocks. Never thought of that before. What kind of things do you add to give it texture.

    ::: Kristah we had things like sand, glitter, pebbles, wishing stones, gum nuts, shells, beads, sticks … We only limit ourselves by our imagination really! :) :)

  6. avatar Jennifer says:

    I use that recipe well almost, I don’t use as much oil and only one cup of salt or there abouts lol i rarely measure anything… I just made a fresh batch with orange essence … but i don’t cook the playdough i just had boiling water which you really can’t do with the children as It is very hot …kneading it with your hands . My previous batch had lavender and the children loved smelling their hands after playing with it…..

    ::: Their are so many recipes out there Jennifer. Tomorrow we will share with you a few of the other recipes we have tried out! :) :)

  7. avatar Rachel says:

    How funny, I’ve always used cooked playdough, so I’ll have to try it the other way around and give your uncooked stuff a go! The cooked one lasts for ages in airtight containers…what’s the shelf life of the non-cooked one like?

    ::: Rachel our un cooked recipe lasts for ages and ages. We have only just made this one so we will see how long it lasts. We always keep ours sealed in an air tight container but never in the fridge! :) :)

  8. avatar louise says:

    awesome – love your rolling pins – what a brilliant idea!!- as is the cake plate and the lovely tablecloth to go with it. what a lovely way to help children appreciate the beauty of our world.

    ::: Thanks Louise … As for the table cloth and the cake plate – It all goes with our mantra “Make it irresistible” :) :)

  9. avatar Bette says:

    I always use this recipe, but use less salt. I also mix the coloring n with the water and cook it in my electric wok. Works great and the kids love making and playing with it.

    ::: An electric wok Bette?!?! … Now the children would love that idea … Thanks! :) :)

  10. avatar Ruth Bode says:

    I love the cute table setting!! I have been making playdough (similar to Tom’s recipe) using the microwave for many years (25ish). It is great as you don’t have the yucky pot to clean afterwards ….when you just want to play with it. I love playdough!!

    ::: Yep! We think that messy pot at the end is the worst too Ruth although worth it for a delicious play dough. Next time however we will give the microwave a go. :) :)

  11. avatar jeanne says:

    Gorgeous photos of the uncooked AND cooked playdough! I’ll have to try Teacher Tom’s Mom Approved playdough recipe!! Wonderful post.

    ::: Thanks Jeanne … Have fun with it! :) :)

  12. avatar Karen Green says:

    This is how I started out making playdough, until I discovered I could eliminate the pot on stove step! Love the R.R.Inc. wooden rollers, must try them.

    ::: Karen, like you we started out cooking our dough … Can’t remember which recipe we used back then though! :) :)

  13. avatar Scott says:

    I love this recipe for play dough. We use it all the time. We use an electric skillet to cook it in the classroom.

    And it lasts for a long time in a ziplock bag.

    Play dough is great!

    ::: You know Scott, play dough is probably the most universal of toys we reckon! :) :)

  14. avatar Claudette Lindquist says:

    Yes indeed–almost 30 years in the field– this is the only recipe I feel confident will always be perfect! I use an electric skillet right in the classeoom — nothing beats the feel of warm, freshly cooked playdough!

    ::: While we don’t normally cook our play dough Claudette we do use hot water so our play dough is also warm BUT we totally get what you mean about the warmth of cooked dough being lovely! :) :)

  15. avatar Elise says:

    I have never cooked playdough either, now I am very curious to whip up a batch of this with my children and compare the two different versions.

    The last photo is ever so sweet.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Now to decide on some lovely winter scents that we can add.
    ::: Hmmm … Eucalyptus sounds good Elise! :) :)

  16. avatar Tracy says:

    I used to always make uncooked playdough, it was easier to do with the kids at work. But once I discovered how to cook it in the microwave, was a convert. The cooked stuff feels nicer, the colours are brighter and the smells stronger, and I feel like it doesn’t go sticky or crumbly as fast. I use the recipe off the cream of tartar tub, but microwave it instead of cooking it on the stove. I’ll never forget the time I made some uncooked playdough, but didn’t have enough salt. I came in after the weekend and found it’d popped the top of the ice cream container, and risen to about three times the size. That one was sticky mess!

    ::: Hmmm … We will definitely have to try the microwave technique Tracy! :) :)

  17. avatar SquiggleMum says:

    Yep, that’s pretty much my recipe too (though I make half the batch for home use)!

    ::: It is a nice one Cath. :) :)

  18. avatar Bianca says:

    I adore the use of your cake plate…just gorgeous:):):0

    ::: Bianca the children had an absolute ball with that fancy cake plate. We’ll share more about that on Monday. :) :)


  19. [...] Patterned Playdough and a New Recipe {Irresistable Ideas for Play Based Learning} [...]

  20. avatar Teacher Tom says:

    I’m going to send this link to mom! I don’t know if she even knows she has a “special” playdough recipe.

    One tip I always give to Woodland Park parents when they make it is to remove it from the pan when you think it still might be a little too sticky. As it cools, the sticky will go away and you’ll wind up with a smoother result that lasts longer.

    ::: Phew Tom! Luckily that’s what we did … No wonder it was SO perfect! :) :)


  21. This may be a silly question, but WHERE do you find cream of tartar? I have never been able to find it in our grocery stores, and no one seems to know…

    ::: Gee Mozi Esmes Mom, I think we find it near the spices but I I’m not entirely sure now that you’ve asked … You’re best to ask for assistance in the store just to be sure. Unless of course Cream of tartar is an Aussie name?! :) :)

  22. avatar isi says:

    I think its also called tartaric acid, often near bicarb soda (baking soda) near cake decorating sprinkles

    ::: Thanks Isi! :) :)

  23. avatar faebellamum says:

    oh , thats my other tip ..tiny bit of Clove oil (from chemist) is my favorite scent to add. Tastes absolutely foul ! yet smells nice and has antibacterial qualities . We have had a few play doh eaters through our centre.

    ::: We’ve not heard of clove oil before faebellamum but we will have certainly check it out … Thanks! :) :)

  24. avatar Mimi says:

    Mozi – you can find cream of tartar in the spice section at almost any grocery store. No, not an Aussie name. I find it cheapest at WalMart! If you have a Smart & Final near you, and you make playdough A LOT (like we do!) you can get a very big container of it there. This is very similar to the recipe we have used at my school for years. We cook it in an electric skillet, and usually use a bit more oil. But less sounds better!

    Another fun thing to do is make coffee playdough. After you have brewed your regular morning coffee, run another pot of water through the coffee maker. Then use that water for the water in your playdough recipe. You don’t need to add color. You can also add a spoonful or two (or three or four) of the used coffee grounds for added texture.

    ::: Thanks for your help Mimi AND the wonderful coffee playdough idea … yum! :) :)

  25. avatar Darcey says:

    These are great ideas for things to use with play-dough. Play-dough is one of my favorite things for the kids. they always enjoy it. I’ve also linked up to your play-dough posts here: http://play2grow.blogspot.com/2011/06/weekly-favorites-for-june-5-2011.html Keep up the great work! Your blog is amazing.

    ::: Thanks Darcey! Our children love playdough too. We’ll be sure to stop by and check out more of your favourites. Thanks for the link. :) :)


  26. [...] found this amazing playdough recipe over at Irresistible Ideas For Play Based Learning which was suggested to them by Teacher Tom. Its a good one. I dont usually make cooked playdough [...]


  27. [...] Teacher Tom’s Mom’s Very Special Playdough Recipe : irresistable Ideas for play based learning [...]

  28. avatar quinny72 says:

    I love the cooked playdough, it is my favourite and tends to last a lot longer. I have also used the uncooked version but always go back to the cooked one. When the playdough has reached it’s used by date I allow the children to decide what to add to it for play time, from sand to glitter to sticks what ever. Love Playdough. xoxoxox

    ::: We must be honest quinny72 and say thatwhile the cooked playdough is seriously irresistible we do tend to go back to the uncooked recipe … Old habits and all that jazz.! :) :)

  29. avatar Krista says:

    What recipe do you use for uncooked playdough? I’ver never had any last as long as the cooked kind does. (I use the same recipe as Teacher Tom’s Mom (but 1/2 the size) and cook it in an electric skillet.)

    ::: Krista you will find our uncooked recipe in this post. http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/2011/06/irresistible-playdough-recipes/ Although it’s not cooked we do use hot water. We never keep it in the fridge and it lasts for weeks. At a recent Messy Play Workshop however we made this recipe in individual sized portions using cold water and it was gorgeous too! :) :)

  30. avatar Diana says:

    We dye our playdough with liquid water color paint (we include in the water ratio) and get rich colors with it.

    ::: WHat a great idea Diana … THANKS for sharing! :) :)


  31. [...] We made some homemade play dough from my new favorite recipe. [...]


  32. [...] dough.  For years kool-aid play dough was the only kind I made.  I recently found this awesome recipe and now it’s the play dough I can’t get enough [...]

  33. avatar Play-Doh | says:

    [...] and Friends Play DohWin – Play Doh Twirl-n-Top Pizza ShopBook Review: Blue Like Play DoughIrresistible Ideas for play based learning body { background-image: [...]


  34. [...] you need:  your favorite Play Dough recipe (here’s our fav…Play dough) ~ peppermint extract ~ small Christmas [...]

  35. avatar Elena says:

    What is the meaning of “Tarter”? I can´t find it in the dictionary!

    ::: Elena, cream of tartar is the powdered form of tartaric acid. This link will show you some alternatives if you don’t have cream of tartar … http://frugalliving.about.com/od/makeyourowningredients/qt/Cream-Of-Tartar-Substitute.htm :) :)

  36. avatar Nora says:

    it’s fine to cook it in the microwave, one can even put it into a plastic bag to cook. And one can also use alum instead of cream of tartar.

    ::: Thanks for the tips Nora! :) :)


  37. [...] why not combine the two?I picked up all the ingredients I needed to make 4 batches of my favorite homemade play dough and some green food coloring.  (I like the specialty food coloring sold in the [...]


  38. [...] This is the recipe I used to make a big batch of play dough, but next time I’m going to try this one, which is only slightly different and makes a smaller batch. [...]

  39. avatar I'M BACK!!! says:

    [...] We made some homemade play dough from my new favorite recipe. [...]

  40. avatar PreK Teach says:

    You can also just add boiling water (I used a hot pot) rather than actually cooking the dough. The kids can’t stir but can participate up to that point. It turns out the same is is a bit easier. Also my favorite recipe!

  41. avatar Vivian McDermott says:

    Yes that is how I have been making it for 22 years
    Never fails,as long as the heat is low and you keep stirring till it separates.

  42. avatar Smeggle says:

    I have been using this recipe for a number of years at christmas time I add cinnamon, mixed spice and finely grated orange rind for the festive season. the children love the smell it leaves on their hands. I now do the play dough in the thermomix and the feel is so silky the children like how it feels.

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