Tuesday, October 4, 2011


It finally dawned on me today that the wee girl is of playdough age - big enough to knead and create but not so small she would just eat it up... With a bit of encouragement from my big girl I hunted through my collection of recipes and found the basic one I was looking for.

I have adapted this recipe and method to make it my own but it was originally written out for me on a scrap of cardboard by one of my homebirth clients at an antenatal visit. She had three children then, plus one growing. She homeschooled; I remember their big long table full of the children's daily work, our visits were always a little noisy and full of fun - I made a point of bringing my big girl (who was then quite wee) with me to those visits because their home was so welcoming and my client had a daughter of the same age with the same name... on the day in question they were playing with playdough; I had never made the stuff so she shared her recipe* with me; with my adaptaions it is so simple the little ones can help make it too.

You will need:
1 cup fine salt
2 cups plain flour
2 tbs oil
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
food colourings as you fancy (we used yellow, pink, purple and blue to make those colours plus red to make orange)
essential oils (we used lemon, orange, rose geranium, lavender and jasmine)
air tight storage containers with lids

Put the salt, flour and cream of tartar in a bowl and use a whisk to combine them;

Add the oil and the boiling water (adult bit) and stir to bring together - as it cools, use your hands and begin kneading it in the bowl.

Tip it out onto your bench top and knead it a bit more then roll it into a log and divide it evenlyish into the number of colours you intend to make; roll them into rough balls.

Now the little ones can join in. Flatten out one of your balls to a disk and put a few drops of food colouring and a few drops of essential oil into the middle. Fold the edges in and give it a quick knead to bury the worst of the colouring - then pass it along the bench to some keen little hands whose job it is to knead/blend the colour through the dough. Add your colouring carefully, if you need to you can always add a few more drops of colouring... but you can't take it out!

Continue adding colour and essential oils and kneading with the rest of the plain dough balls til you are heady with the divine scents. It stores pretty well, if I remember rightly, and when your aromadough loses its scent add a few more drops of essentail oil, knead it again.

Fish out the bag of playdough implements that haven't see the light of day in about six years (brush off the dried clumps and powder of ancient play dough and chuck out the dodgy looking stuff still in tubs) sit your wee ones down to create whatever their hearts desire and make yourself a cup of tea - you will get to drink the whole cup, hot and undisturbed and you will feel marvellously relaxed which might have something to do with the lavender, rose geranium and jasmine...

*the original recipe did not contain any essential oils and made only one colour. To convert it back; omit the essential oils and add your colouring to the boiling water, stir and then knead.


Evi said...

What a clever idea - smelly play-dough! Sadly all mine are now too big to really enjoy play-dough but I will keep this for my daughters coming babe....

M. Bloom said...

mmmm... purple-playdough-pie... delicious! I like it almost as much as plum cake (which reminds me of a wonderful book by Rosemary Wells called Bunny Cakes!)

Jo @ Indigo Inspirations said...

what a great idea to add the oils....mine too are too big but nieces at Christmas time might find themselves with some rainbow play dough....
Thanks for sharing - I had forgotten about it ♥Jo

Magic By Mum said...

Love it! The essential oils ... why dont I think of these things? What an awesome idea, and she's just the right age too. Am off to make it right now :)

W-S Wanderings said...

My youngest 3 recently spent ages playing with a batch of homemade playdough that their eldest sister made up for them using a recipe we've been using since Eldest herself was a wee one. I LOVE your idea of adding essential oils! And I love Jo's idea of making a batch for Christmastime.

Gypsymama said...

Wonderful idea! I'm still waiting for my little one to be past the eating stage (apparently he's not--we experimented last week and ended up with a purple mouth.) Thanks for sharing!

EMMA said...

Hi We also made homemade playdough today for the first time ever! We put spices in ours but couldn't really smell them afterwards. Next time i'll try the essential oils.