play dough kinda day

since i threw out the last scraps of our homemade play dough a few days ago, jaden and i made another batch today.  i have a love/hate relationship with play dough.  i love it because it keeps both the kiddos occupied for long periods of time and it's also a great sensory/imaginative play activity.  but i absolutely hate the mess.  i hate stepping on dried up bits that somehow seem to escape the vacuum, hate the gunk that gets stuck in them, hate how it does not come off carpet...hate, hate, hate.  but jaden and everly enjoy playing with it so much, we always seem to make a new batch every few months.  there are a million and one play dough recipes out there but this concoction seems to produce the softest and longest lasting play dough. 

You'll need:
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of salt
1 TBSP oil
2 TBSP cream of tartar
food coloring

mix all ingredients except the food coloring in a pan.  then cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture starts balling up and drawing away from the pan (about 3-5 minutes.)

should resemble something like this when it's ready. 

 wait for the play dough to cool and then knead it until it is soft.  then add the food coloring and knead some more.  if you want pastel colors use no more than 4 drops of each dye.  we like more vibrant colors so we add 10-15 drops to each batch.  

alternately, you could add the food coloring into the mixture before cooking it.   but because jaden loves making the colors blend with his own hands, we make it into a learning opportunity [e.g. blue + red = purple].

Some tips:
- you can add glitter to the finished product to makes things more interesting and pretty.
- store the play dough in an airtight container.  we use ziplock bags.
- store in the refrigerator to extent the life of the play dough.
- i ran across this awesome tutorial that uses natural ingredients like strawberries and blueberries to dye the play dough instead of food coloring.  you can see it here

the finished product!