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Posted by Maxine Cleminson - - 3 comments

My Mum used to make playdough when I was a child.  I remember my brother and I eagerly waiting for the dough to cool sufficiently for us to play with and the slightly 'greasy' texture that the salt in the dough would give it.  Mum would put food colourings in and we would have hours of fun!

My boys have clearly inherited this passion of mine, as all 3 of them frequently ask to play with the playdough kits we have.  The problem is that no matter how well you store commercially bought playdoughs, they dry out easily and don't last long.  They are also not designed to be eaten.  Something the terrible twin-some struggle to comprehend.  So I set out on a mission to make my own playdough.  I figured it would be cheaper and not toxic (even if not tasty) so a bonus all round!

A quick peruse of the internet amazed me with the huge array of inventive recipes for homemade playdough.  Like this one, which uses peanut butter (not so great for playdates with allergy suffers!).  And this one that uses ready made cake mix (yummy)!

But it was the Kool Aid ones that caught my eye (for non-American's... Kool Aid is a powdered drink additive that you mix with water to make soda).  However, they caught my eye for the wrong reason..."Don't drink the Kool Aid!"   This is a common phrase here in America and yet it took me a while to understand the meaning behind it.  Believe me... I've taken it to heart, especially after reading the list of ingredients in the healthier Sugar Free one which includes Aspartame (I've tried hard to avoid this baddie since being diagnosed with Graves' Hyperthyroid Disease this year).  However, it would seem that the purpose of Kool Aid in the recipe is simply to add color and fragrance to the dough!  Seemed reasonable enough.  But there's no way I was going out to buy Kool Aid just to make playdough.

An alternative was required, so a quick rummage around my pantry unearthed a tub of Nesquik milkshake powder (donated by a recently departed expat friend!).  Now I'm not claiming that this stuff is nutritionally superior to Kool Aid ... hey, it still lists 'artificial flavours' and various artificial colors on the back of the tub (as well as recognizable ingredients like sugar).  However, I thought it would be worth a try!

You will need....

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola)

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

  • 1/4 cup Nesquik milkshake powder (we used the Strawberry one).

  • 1 large Ziploc freezer bag or plastic storage tub for storage (make sure it's airtight).

  • Mix all the ingredients in a large pot on the stove.  Turn on a medium-high heat and begin stirring.  Keep stirring the mixture moving until it forms a dough that pulls away from the sides of the pot.  Turn off the heat and keep stirring (you will get arm ache) until it forms a ball.  Allow the ball of dough to cool until comfortable to touch.  Then you can knead the dough to remove any small clumps of flour that haven't fully mixed in.  At this point you can knead in some glitter if you like!

    The Verdict:
    It smells divine... Strawberry heaven!  So much so, that my boys came drifting into the kitchen as I was cooking it as if drawn by magnets!  It also has a brilliant texture and is perfect for little hands to get some tactile creative play!  The colour wasn't as deep as I was hoping, and yet made a very nice rose pink.  This isn't a problem for the twins, but I can't imagine the Big One jumping to play with girly pink dough... ugh!  Lastly, is it edible?  And the answer is a resounding 'No'!  In the interest of providing a well rounded review of this recipe I bravely tasted a pinch, and it was disgusting.  The salt that gives it its pliability makes it ridiculously foul, despite the lovely smell.  I was a little disappointed, until I realised that playdough isn't supposed to be edible.. duh!  Don't let this put you off though.  It's cheaper to make than store bought playdough.  And at least you know the ingredients it contains ... it may taste rank, but it's not toxic!  And in some ways the fact it tastes rank is a good thing... they won't spoil their dinner!

    3 Responses so far.

    1. I'll have to remember this trick for when my LOs start wanting play-doh. If something doesn;t drastically change, they will try to eat it.

    2. Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your recipe and am encouraged that it looks doable! I think I will try it...once I figure out what section in the store the cream of tartar is.

      Sew Rugged @ bear rabbit bear

    3. Mama Max says:

      Hi Melanie!
      Cream of tartar is in the herbs & spices section ... and they are usually display the jars alphabetically!!!
      Good luck and thanks for checking out my blog!

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    Mama Max

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