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My Favorite Play Dough Recipe

Pumpkin spice black pepper orange play dough – lots of fun!

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Play dough is one of the absolute best toy/manipulative/sensory activities available to kid-dom!

I kid you not. Snicker, snicker. And not the snicker of the famed chocolate and peanut variety.

This is the best and most versatile recipe I’ve found. I have used it for over 20 years and have only rarely uncelebrated failure.

Tools make all the difference. Cutting, chopping, manipulating, and making prints are great activities for little hands.

Best Ever Play Dough Recipe

3 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 T. oil (vegetable or baby oil)

1 T. alum

3 cups boiling water

Paste food coloring (add to boiling water to melt and mix it)

1. Put dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well.

2. Drizzle oil over dry mix.

3. Stir food coloring into boiling water. Pour over ingredients.

4. Stir well with a wooden spoon and spatula.

5. Turn out onto a counter. It will be hot, but you have to knead the dough while it is hot to activate the ingredients. Knead the dough and scrape off sticky bits with a spatula. Don’t worry, it will get less sticky as it cools. If it is horribly sticky, add tiny bits of flour as needed.

6. After the mixture is well mixed, cool completely and store in a lidded plastic container.

7. Enjoy!

This is the basic recipe. I often add spices or textures like pumpkin spice, cornmeal, or cocoa. Play with the recipe. It’s worth the mess.

Today Donavyn and I made play dough. He wanted orange, so we made orange. I wanted a scent, so I added pumpkin spice. He also wanted to dump pepper, so we added pepper!

Old tires make great tracks.

Together with play dough, tools and toys add to the experience. Be creative and grab things that make patterns, cut, chop, shape, and can be used to interact with the play dough. Avoid using anything you truly love. The salt and necessity of a good wash can potentially destroy special items. Stick to the eventually-disposable toys and you can dump your worries in the trash.

Even the sides of tires are interesting.

Even this 53 years-young kid loves to play with play dough.

What’s your favorite sensory toy?