Playtime at Tiffany’s

Playdough. It’s not food, but you do make it in a kitchen, and if you’re a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or have anything at all to do with young kids, you’ll want to bookmark this easy-peasy recipe.

I didn’t set out to make a blog post from playdough. I just wanted to make playdough. It’s one of my children’s favourite things to play with, and one of my favourite things to give them because it occupies them for long, blissfully silent, periods of time. Oh yes, and it stimulates their young brains and encourages creativity, blah blah blah. Let’s be real – we love it because it buys us a bit of breathing time. So it’s certainly worth the 3 minutes it takes to make it.

Sure, you can buy it, but why would you? Playdough has a remarkably high attrition rate (at least in our house), as bits fall to the floor, get stuck in the toys, dry out and end up heaven knows where else. Buying replacement tubs can get expensive and tedious. Besides, this recipe is extremely easy and makes really lovely, soft playdough such as I have never found in the stores. And you can make it any colour your kids like.

Our previous batch was pink because, much to my son’s chagrin, I only had red food colouring in the house at the time. So this time he got to choose the colour and of course he went for blue. My daughter had to put her stamp on it though, so she requested we add glitter. And that’s how we ended up with duck-egg blue playdough with silver sparkles. If Tiffany & Co. made playdough, this would be it.

Funnily enough, the Tiffany’s theme was mirrored in my daughter’s swept-up hairdo and even in the neckline of her dress (which bizarrely matched the colour of the playdough perfectly). Definitely another Holly Golightly in the making. I should have put my sunglasses on her and a cigarette holder…. No, wait, that would be wrong. Bad Mom, bad.

Tiffany & Co. Playdough (based on basic no-cook playdough recipe found here)
Makes about 2 cups

What You Need:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt
1 Tbsp silver glitter
1 cup boiling water
Several drops blue food colouring
1-1/2 Tbsp oil

What You Do:

1. Sift the flour and cream of tartar into a large glass mixing bowl and mix with all the other dry ingredients (including glitter).
2. In a measuring jug, mix the boiling water with the food colouring until you get the colour you want.
3. Pour the coloured water into the dry mixture, add the oil and mix well until it all comes together.
4. The kids can use it almost immediately (it may need a few minutes to cool). Once they’re done, keep it stored in a ziploc (or other airtight plastic) bag.

Notes for Next Time:

1. I specify glass mixing bowl because a plastic one may be stained by the food colouring. Use your discretion, but I definitely would advise against using wood.
2. The crafty amongst you will have realised that you can, of course, make this any colour by simply using different food colourings. You could double the recipe and do two different colours or even more. I tend to make my kids’ playdough one colour at a time because multiple colours have a way of very quickly becoming a huge grey-ish brown-ish mess they no longer want to play with.
3. If you’re catering for really young children, who still put everything in their mouths, then this is a great recipe for you but please leave out the glitter! Everything else in it is edible.
4. I’ve made this using vegetable oil, olive oil and even baby oil. They all work well and you can experiment and see which you prefer. But again, if your kids are at all likely to put it in their mouths, avoid the baby oil and use a cooking oil instead.
5. I was once tempted to use dishwater salt (a British thing) because the only cooking salt I had in the house was very expensive Cornish sea salt. Bad idea. The dishwasher salt didn’t melt. At all. Very odd stuff. I now buy bags of very cheap bargain cooking salt that I keep specifically for playdough.
6. Some “very interesting”¬†playdough suggestions can be seen on this brief video interview with my models. Never mind the paint swatches on the conservatory wall. Oh, and lest you think my son was at all ‘prepped’ for his spiel, he wasn’t. I have no clue where he came up with that but I’m starting to think he’s been watching too much TV!

(Note: I’ve had reports that some people can’t get the video to play. I’m trying to figure out what the problem is, but meanwhile you can see it over at the Tomayto Tomaaahto Facebook page. Oh, and while you’re over there, why not take a second to click ‘Like’ and become a fan? Thanks!)