Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Perfect Play Dough?

We are gearing up for yet another birthday party for one of Mia's little friends, so that meant making a fresh batch of play dough. It really makes an awesome, inexpensive gift, in my opinion. (All I know is that nobody has complained yet, but that would bad form, of course.) I really do believe that homemade stuff is perfect for children's birthday gifts and not just because I am cheap resourceful! This will keep her interest for several weeks of creative play. Plus, what mom wouldn't be happy for her child to receive homemade gifts in place of yet another Barbie doll?

When I asked Mia what kind of play dough she wanted to make, she couldn't decide between Kool-Aid play dough and glitter play dough, so we decided to combine the two. This was actually something that I had wanted to try for awhile, but hadn't had the opportunity. Our most recent batch of play dough is holding strong, you see, and we made it two months ago. To make our "perfect play dough" or  "sensory overload play dough," as I am calling it in my mind, we used the Kool-Aid play dough recipe and then added in the glitter at the end. I LOVE any homemade play dough, but this one smells delicious, has vibrant color, and it has a little something extra in the form of sparkle, so who could ask for more? It's quite possibly the perfect play dough!

To make the gift of play dough complete, I like to include inexpensive plastic cookie cutters. (After Easter, I stock piled a bunch of these that I picked up on clearance at Target. Thirty cents for a 4-pack was a steal!) Also, here is where I posted directions for how I make my recipe "label" to attach to the jar, in case you are wondering. Mia's friend, the birthday girl, will also be receiving a few other homemade goodies to round out her gift bag including: a wave bottle, a seek 'n' find bottle, some dyed pasta beads for making bracelets and necklaces (materials for that included), some bunny shaped scribble cookies plus a construction paper pad, and a batch of homemade bubble solution complete with two wands made from pipe cleaners. (This bubble recipe is a new one I have tried this year and have not blogged about since I want to try a couple more recipes before doing a post. If you are looking for a recipe now, feel free to check out the 3 I tried last year.)


  • ½ Cup salt                           
  • 1 Cup flour                        
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar        
  • 1 pkg. Kool-Aid*                  
  • 1 Tbs. cooking oil               
  • 1 Cup water               *I use generic drink mix packets.*
  • glitter
  1. In a pan, mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Kids can help with this. (We used a Kroger Tropical Punch unsweetened drink mix packet for this particular batch.)
  2. Cook on medium heat until a ball forms, stirring as needed.
  3. Set aside to cool, and then knead the play dough. Kids can help with this. Tip: Wax paper or a cutting board or place mat will protect your work surface from stains.
  4. To add glitter, I find it is easiest to make a well in the play dough, pour in small amount of glitter, cover it over with the dough and then knead until it is distributed throughout the dough. Repeat as needed until you have as much glitter as desired. Tip: Glitter play dough is not all that messy. The glitter tends to stay in the play dough quite well and not end up everywhere, as you might expect it to. So, don't be afraid to add some sparkle to your play dough! If you are concerned about the mess, just have kids play with it on a vinyl place mat, some wax paper, a cutting board, or my new favorite multi-purpose craft item: the liner from a cereal box - It's free and stuff doesn't stick to it. You can even re-use these.
  5. Enjoy! Play dough will keep for several weeks in an airtight container. Tip: Cool Whip tubs, zippered baggies, and jars work well for this. My personal favorite are plastic peanut butter jars. Important Note about Homemade Play Dough: Although it is non-toxic, kids shouldn't eat it. It's very salty, so I'm not sure why they would want to, but it does happen. Tip: Personal experience has taught me to keep play dough away from pets as well. I can't tell you how many times our dog has eaten this and then gotten sick. It doesn't hurt her, of course, but it is a nuisance to have to clean up dog vomit while your kid is contentedly playing with his new batch of play dough.

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