Homemade Cooked Playdough with Cream of Tartar
This recipe for homemade cooked playdough with cream of tartar makes lovely, soft playdough that will last for a long time. The salt in the recipe acts as a preservative which allows it to last for weeks, and even months if you wrap it up and store it in a cool place. The cream of tartar makes the playdough super soft.
When I am out of cream of tartar, I have used white wine vinegar instead (apparently lemon juice also works). For every one teaspoon of cream of tartar, use two teaspoons of white wine vinegar or lemon juice. I haven’t used vinegar for making playdough, but it has worked well as a substitute in other recipes, such as Pavlova. Also, you may need to add more flour if you use vinegar as a substitute.
This homemade cooked playdough with cream of tartar lasts for weeks, and even months if it is stored correctly. I store our playdough in saran wrap, plastic bag or beeswax cloth and then put it in the fridge when not in use. Doing this helps it last for as long as possible.
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What you need for homemade cooked playdough with cream of tartar
- 1 cup flour (or gluten-free flour)
- ½ cup of salt
- 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) cream of tartar (UK)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc. also work) (UK)
- Food colouring (Wilton’s gel will give you bright and vibrant colours) (UK)
First, combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt and cream of tartar) in a bowl.
Next pour the liquid ingredients (water, oil and food colouring) into the pot. Alternatively, you can add food colouring later if you want to use different colours.
Method 1 – Traditional way that is better if you are cooking with children
Pour the dry ingredients into the pot with the liquids and stir it all together until it is smooth. Then, put the stove on low heat and continuously stir until it forms a large, softball. Be careful not to cook it for too long as it will become dry very quickly. Once it cools down a bit, take it out and knead it until it reaches a soft and squishy consistency. I have found that you will get softer playdough if you cook it for as little as possible.
Method 2- Alternative method
Put the pot on the stove and heat the liquid ingredients. Bring them to a light boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Very slowly add the dry mixture and mix it in. Please be sure to add it in very slowly as the dry ingredients can cause the water to boil and splash! Stir the ingredients together until they are well combined. When the dough has cooled down a bit, take it out of the pot and knead it thoroughly. If you haven’t already added in food colouring, you may at this time. Adding it in later means you will have to knead it more, but it will allow you to divide it up and make different colours.
Questions to ask
- How does it feel?
- What do you notice?
- What can you make?
- Show me how you can pinch it, push it, squeeze it, pull it, squash it, etc.
- What are you using to play with it? What does it do to the playdough? Would you like to try anything else?
What they get from it
Making playdough with children is an excellent way for them to learn basic cooking & baking skills. It allows children to measure ingredients and also to see a chemical reaction take place (through heat). Playing with playdough is also fantastic for honing fine motor and manipulative skills. It promotes dexterity and strength-building, all of which are important in preparing children for writing.
Take it further
Children can use playdough to sculpt different objects from their imagination. You can add in loose parts like flat glass beads, sticks, cupcake papers, beads, googly eyes, containers, stamps, and more, allowing children to make a wide range of different creations. You may want to see some of my posts on loose parts including Find Out What is Loose Parts Play and Benefits of Loose Parts Play .
If children need further strengthening, ‘Dough Disco’ on YouTube is a fun way to get children building strength in their hands and arms.
You may also want to see my posts on enhanced playdough recipes such as aromatherapy playdough, Deliciously Smelly Playdough Recipe, and Pumpkin Spice Playdough Recipe. I also have some alternative playdough recipes such as Homemade Playdough without Salt and Edible Homemade Cloud Dough Recipe.