In Joujoux, we place a premium on open-ended playthings – toys and materials that allow children to spend hours tinkering while using their imagination, creativity, and resourcefulness. While we have nothing against one-purpose-one-design toys, we want our customers (usually parents) to realize that they are getting a lot of entertainment-and-learning mileage with each Joujoux purchase.
Playdough is one of my personal favorite open-ended playthings. There are so many things to do with a lump of playdough. Its malleable properties allow children’s fine motor skills to be strengthened as they make balls and coils with it. Eye-hand coordination and concentration goals are achieved when they poke sticks and branches into it or when they emboss leaves as they engage in preschool printmaking. Playdough is also one of the first media used when introducing a young child to cutting with scissors.
The wonderful news is that one need not scour the shelves of toy stores for playdough. With pantry basics, one can whip up a big batch of playdough in the comfort of your own home using the recipe below:
2.5 cups of warm water
1 ¼ cup of salt
1 ½ tbsp of cream of tartar
4 tbsp of vegetable oil (you can add an additional tablespoon to make a more buttery playdough)
2.5 cups of flour
Mix everything in a pot over low heat. It will look lumpy and then smooth but, given a few minutes, it will all come together into a beautiful ball of playdough. When the dough is cooked through and does not stick to your fingers, take it out of the pot and onto a smooth surface. Easy peasy!
Now the fun part begins! Place a few drops of food coloring onto the dough and knead the dough until the food coloring spreads evenly throughout the dough. I made a huge batch so I divided the dough into five parts and colored each ball of dough differently. I didn’t want the usual rainbow colors and opted for softer tints so…
…I made playdough in the yummiest of colors: pink, avocado green, lemon yellow, lavender, and teal.
Don’t they look dreamy???
Give it a try! With materials such as rice grains, branches, leaves, alphabet tiles, buttons, and pebbles to play along with playdough, the creative play possibilities of playdough are endless!