Cooped up with a sick toddler, an exhausted Mommy and 100 degree heat.  Homemade Play-doh to the rescue!  A few hours of giggling and much needed relief.


When I was a small kid, I remember my mom helping us make homemade play-doh.  I must have also enjoyed the store bought variety because I recall the lever machine that pressed out snakes, spaghetti and shaped tubes.  Perhaps it was my early fondness for baking and cooking that guided my preference towards the do-it-yourself process of kneading and getting your own color just right.

Mini Whipped is a touch over two and we have had a number of tubs of play-doh around our house already.  Often she rustles in her project drawer, finds one of her play-doh accoutrements from animal cut outs to hamburger makers and asks in her sweet, high-pitched, cartoon voice, “Wanna play some play-dohs with me Mommy?”  An offer I can’t refuse!

I try to resist discouraging her inevitable mixing of the colors (why DO store bought red and blue make brown anyway?) and often find myself tuned out as I sculpt my own mini dinosaurs and lady bugs.  The pliable putty is practically a time machine reversing adult stresses and responsibilities.

My mom gave me a small container of alum months ago, reminding me it was a key ingredient in homemade play-doh.  Today, cooped up at home with a feverish baby and record breaking heat, we finally got a chance to make our own fun. Our inner Rodins came out as we sculpted and pinched, forgetting all of our woes if even just for an hour.


Homemade Play-doh Recipe

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon alum powder
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon oil
Optional fragrance – essential oil or 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Liquid or gel food coloring

Put flour, salt and alum powder together in a sauce pan. Stir to combine. Add water and oil and cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Continue to stir as lumps form, eventually it will become the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. Remove from heat. Let cool until you can handle it.

Put dough on counter and use your hands to knead and form it into a ball. Separate into balls depending on how many colors you want to make. Flatten the ball slightly, add a few drops of color and fragrance if you are using it and fold it and continue to fold it on itself mixing in the color. For darker color, continue to add drops and knead.