Inside: The ultimate homemade playdough that’s easy to make and packed with fruity flavor. Just 1 pot, 6 ingredients, and 10 minutes required! I included our favorite play ideas and suggestions on how to present playdough for the most fun and learning.
I think of homemade playdough as a magic tool to turn frantic young energy into calm and focus…Ah…
When I see my kids beginning to get out of sorts or simply bouncing off the walls for no reason, I quickly gather the needed ingredients, and ten minutes later, I invite them to the kitchen. Nobody can resist the magic touch of warm playdough, full of fruity flavor and unlimited potential.
Whether it’s a busy weekday evening or a lazy Sunday morning, this Jell-O playdough recipe is exactly what you need. Squishing, molding, pulling, rolling, sculpting, and breaking, playdough is more than just fun – it’s simultaneously stimulating and calming.
When your kids play with playdough, they are:
- strengthening their focus and concentration,
- boosting creativity,
- developing fine-motor abilities, and
- practicing problem-solving skills.
Exciting Playdough Props
When it comes to playdough, the right props go a long way to extend the playtime. Each of my four kids has different favorites that take their imagination (and learning) to new levels.
Here are a few ideas from the things you can probably find around your house:
- Cupcake liners (make pretend cupcakes, sing a birthday song, and blow out the pretend candles)
- Cookie cutters (playdough cookie, anyone?)
- Plastic knives (poke, cut, slice, and divide. Make a long snake and cut it into equal parts).
- Bottle caps
- Seashells (press a seashell into the playdough and lift it up. What does the mark look like? Can you make a pattern?)
- Buttons (if you trust your kids not to eat them) and (depending on the season) leaves and flowers
- Rocks and pebbles (always a hit in my house)
- Small toys (match cars, LEGO blocks, animals, etc.)
- Uncooked spaghetti (makes for excellent bridges and towers)
- Glitter and glitter glue (if you’re okay with big messes)
And sometimes toes can be a worthy prompt. Here my daughter decided to make “a pillow for each toe” Ha-ha! I don’t know how she came up with that!
How to start
As soon as the playdough is ready, I invite my kids to close their eyes, take a deep breath, and sink their fingers into the playdough.
How does it feel?
Warm. Squashy. Soft. Inviting.
What does it smell like?
My favorite flavor during this cold time of the year is lemon or orange. There’s something so invigorating about citrus smells when it’s cold and grey outside. Summer in a bowl.
Show your kids how to roll, flatten, stretch, and mold playdough. Can you make little playdough people? A snowman? A monster?
Another thing your kids might like to do once they master rolling playdough between their hands to make long snakes is to make the letters of the alphabet. Can they make their name? Or at least the first letter of their name?
Jell-O Playdough Recipe
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. It means that I might get a commission from your purchase.
What you need:
1 cup water
¼ cup salt
2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon oil
What to do:
- Mix all the ingredients in a pot.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring a lot. And when I say a lot, here’s what I mean: you don’t have to do it constantly, but you do have to stir enough to avoid browning the mixture. (Because if you do, your kids are going to say, “Yuk!” and they are not going to use it).
- Cooking time depends on your pot and your stove. When we had a Wolf brand range, it took us about 7 minutes to make a batch of playdough. Now we have a Thermador, and it takes 12 minutes. You know your dough is done when it forms into a ball and pulls away from the walls of the pot.
Yep, super easy to clean!
- Let it cool for a few minutes and if you feel motivated, knead it on a cutting board. This is how it’s going to look if you do.
But, let’s be honest here, sometimes you don’t have time to scratch your nose, let alone knead something. My kids never complain if I don’t.
Now it’s time to try one of the tools and suggestions I provided above to keep the playdough fun going for hours while you take a nap. Ha-ha! As if…
- You can keep the playdough in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days. If it dries up, moisten your hands, shake off the water, and without wiping them on a towel, knead the playdough.
- When you are done, dispose of the playdough in the trash. Don’t wash it down the drain because the gelatin in the mixture might block the pipe.
Oh, wait! The post is almost over and I didn’t show you our Grumpy Monster. Here he is
Let me know how playdough fun goes for you. And don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. We’ve been playing with playdough for over a decade and I’m pretty sure we’ve encountered every playdough challenge there is and overcame each one successfully.