BB sees a therapist for some developmental assistance and one of the things she keeps telling me to do is sensory play. The messy kind. BB loves playing with water but the therapist wants him exposed to messy, gooey things like shaving cream, moon sand, mashed potatoes and playdough. I hate getting stuff on my hands (I probably have a sensory issue myself!) but if it's important for his development then I must. We've done shaving cream (on the shower walls), whipped cream (in his high chair) and mashed potatoes (outside) but playdough is virtually mess-free and still allows him some sensory integration.
I found this playdough recipe on Instructables.com and I didnt realize that it was a four step process. I mixed the following ingredients and the goop was so runny I knew immediately that I had done something wrong. So, I went back and realized this is a slow-cook recipe. So, I drizzled the goop into a pot and slow-cooked and churned that goop into dough and by golly it made the best playdough in the world. It's not easy, but it's worth it.
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)
Food coloring and a pot
Mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat while stirring slowly. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle.
Turn the dough out onto a clean counter or silicone mat, and knead vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring. Make a divot in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring in. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the body of the playdough, trying to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. Work the dye through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color. When you're done, store your playdough in an air-tight container.
- During the cooking process, if your playdough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer! Keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and feels like playdough.
- After you've been playing for a while it may begin to dry out. You can knead a bit of water in again to soften the dough back to usability Once it's dried past a certain point, however, you'll just have to start over.
- If it gets soggy, you can re-heat it to drive off the extra water the dough absorbed overnight. This is usually the result of high humidity, but is fixable!
- You can also bake it in the oven to make hard dough figures and ornaments, then paint or otherwise decorate the surface. You can even use the baked play-dough as a salt lick for your pet rabbit! (And you know I love rabbits!)