We LOVE a good hands on activity in our house, especially one that we can create together and play with together. I remember countless days growing up where we made homemade playdough of every variety growing up. It was cheap, fun and entertained us for hours. Not to mention, there is just something calming about molding things with your hands and watching things take shape. My goal is always to have activities that I can have my daughter interact in the full process. This is one of those activities – minus the cooking part. I also usually always have a package of Jello in my pantry because they are cheap and a quick thing to make.
My other favorite thing? Although I’m not sure I should label it “edible”, I love that there isn’t anything that will endanger my toddler if a piece wanders into her mouth, and it has. Mind you, she typically realizes it’s not as yummy as it smells though! It’s a great piece of mind knowing there isn’t anything hurtful to her in the recipe and there isn’t a massive amount of salt in the recipe either.
Ingredients you will need:
1 – 3oz packet of Jello*
1 c – white flour
2 tbsp – cream of tartar
2 tbsp – salt
1 c – warm water
2 tbsp – cooking oil **
Food coloring (optional)
*You can use store brand or name brand Jello, they work the same. If you use Sugar Free the packet will be .3 oz not 3 oz.
**If you use Sugar Free you won’t have use as much oil – instead of 2tbsp use 1tbsp soon instead – as it’s not quite as tacky without the sugar.
Once you have all of your ingredients gathered together, it’s time for the first step of the fun: preparing it to be cooked. This is one of my favorite steps because I have A join me in the fun. I measure out the warm water, flour, cream of tartar and salt, then set it out on her small table with the sauce pan. From there I let her go to own mixing the ingredients, using fun tools and exploring. I start her off with spoons and whisks but she usually ventures to the utensil draw to find other goodies. There isn’t anything she can really do to make the playdough not work out, so although it’s messier it’s well worth the excitement that ensures.
After the mixing is complete you add it to medium head and continue stirring until you have a playdough ball and you can’t really stir anymore.
Sprinkle out floor onto a flat surface, either your counter or a baking mat, dump the playdough onto the surface and let it cool.
I learned that encouraging it to be a long log shape cools the center faster but a basic large ball is just fine too.
Once cool you’ll want to knead it a bit with the flour to rid it of any tackiness. You want it to be smooth and easy to handle. From there I split the playdough into two balls. In the picture above I kept the Orange jello it’s natural color and added a reddish purple food dye to the other ball to half so we could explore with two colors.
If you choose to add food coloring, be prepared for two things: 1) the Jello absorbs a lot of coloring. 2) You will need extra flour as its tackier. You will need more today and in about a week.
Now it’s time for play!
We are constantly playing with a variety of tools and toys with the playdough. Playdough scissors, spoons, cookie cutters, measuring cups, duplo blocks, Little People, toy cars, etc. The options are really pretty endless.
The playdough lasts a good 2-3 weeks in a sealed baggy or container in the refrigerator. If it becomes tacky just add a little flour, knead it in and enjoy playing with it all over again!