Last week, I was a having a distracted morning. Instead of doing my usual pre-work routine of reheating my cup of coffee while Faye and I built block towers, and made messes pouring water, and ate our weight in clementines, I was finding myself chomping at the bit to get to work on other things: deadlines to meet and emails to send and a blog post to finish, for heaven’s sake.
I finally decided that I needed a project to focus on instead; something novel for me and for Faye and that would offer a bit of relief from the urge to answer emails while nodding absent-mindedly in the direction of wooden blocks.
Playdough.I realize that a post about making your own play dough might sound like an overly sugar-coated attempt at “doing it all.” Screw it. Sometimes you have the opportunity to take five minutes to make your kid play dough. Sometimes you don’t.
For when you do have the chance, here’s a super easy recipe. It took me literally five minutes to make. I dirtied one pot that I stuck directly into the dishwasher to clean. Faye had nearly as much fun adding a cupful of flour to the pot as she did playing with the finished product. I got personal satisfaction from presenting her with a new project that didn’t require buying anything new, finding a permanent space to keep anything, or adding much of anything to the landfill. Ding, ding, ding!Since Cream of Tartar (a popular ingredient in most homemade playdough recipes) isn’t a thing that I keep in my spice cabinet, I borrowed from recipes that use only things you’re more likely to keep regularly on hand. I didn’t add food coloring because that’s another thing I don’t keep around the house (but if you do, feel free!). The result is playdough that looks like real dough. Faye has not been tempted to eat it—but to be clear, I’m fairly certain that bright blue playdough would only entice her more. (Girl is still nibbling on her colored pencil tips.)
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 teaspoons lemon juice (or vinegar!)
Mix the ingredients together into a saucepan over low heat and stir until combined into a dough. (Note: I was convinced this wouldn’t work half way through. It got kind of grainy and weird looking and I was sure I’d botched it. Thirty-seconds or so later, I was pleasantly surprised that it turned to dough. Moral of the story: Don’t despair.)
We’ve been storing this batch of dough in a mason jar for the last week and it’s made a daily appearance in the early morning hours. We’ve been using Faye’s mini rolling pin (similar to this one), a few tiny cookie cutters, and her crinkle knife to make shapes. Bonus: I’m fully into the therapeutic benefits of rolling playdough balls for stress relief. So…not for kids only!
If any of you guys have kids, I’d love to know what kinds of things you’ve been up to lately!