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Simple Cooked Play Dough Recipe (Valentine’s Gift Idea)

Recipe from Lacey

If you are like me, the thought of children receiving large amounts of sweets this upcoming Valentine’s Day is a little overwhelming. The children in my home have sensitivities to sugar; in other words, I find them bouncing off each other and furniture when they eat too much sugar.

So, as not to add to the sugar hysteria this weekend, I made individual play dough gifts for my daughter to share at a Church Valentine’s Day party.

Be sure to add a tag explaining that your gift is play dough as you wouldn’t want children to think it was candy! Homemade play dough is safe to eat, but doesn’t taste very yummy! It’s also fun to include a cookie cutter with the play dough gift bag.

Lacey is a military wife and homeschooling mother to two darling little girls. She loves creating, learning, and growing in her faith.

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  • Megan says:

    I know a lot of your readers are Christian women and I just reviewed a set of Christian fiction books on my blog. I think a lot of you would LOVE them 🙂

  • Angela says:

    It is cheaper to buy playdough than to make it. Cream of Tartar is not cheap – playdough is cheap. Save your $$$.

    • Catherine says:

      Play dough might be cheaper, but these look so much cuter and I bet the kids would love them! And older children would have fun helping to package them up and make them look all pretty! 😀

      • happy_mom_of_2 says:

        i agree. i have all the ingredients already except the cream of tartar and im sure i can find the bags pretty cheap too. i am so excited to try this

    • tiki says:

      The bulk section in winco has it. That makes it cheaper.

    • holly says:

      I love home made play dough. I always wonder why the store bought has that smell and worry about my little one putting it in her mouth. I know if I make it what’s in it and that it is safe if she does.

    • Laura says:

      My mom told me today that Cream of Tarter is actually a mixture of baking soda and baking powder. The ratio is 2 T baking powder to 1 T baking soda. Use a blender or wisk to combine. I hope that this is helpful to you. I know it will be much cheaper than buying Cream of Tarter in the store.

  • Missy says:

    hrmmm… this is very tempting, except I’d have to make it with gluten free flour since one of the kids in the class I am doing my practicum at has a gluten intolerance, to the point where when handing out a snack, you can’t handle anythign with gluten and then get his…so this would definetely be expensive ….possibly well worth it though….

    • Jen says:

      I’ve made play dough with gluten free flour blend and it works quite well. Regular playdough is made with wheat flour so we can’t even buy it as an alternative to making it. The kid in your class if fortunate to have such a conscientious teacher to be thinking so carefully about gluten sensitivities!! 🙂 Good for you! 🙂

  • Cares says:

    I think this is a great idea! Homemade gifts are the best and more personal. I love the idea of not adding to the sugar madness 😉 Thanks for sharing Lacey!

  • Lori says:

    I’ve made homemade play dough for my kids since my oldest was about 3 (he’s now 18 – yikes!). I loved it mainly because it didn’t crumble like the “real” stuff does. The recipe I’ve always used is very similar to this one, except I use the cheap “kool-aid” packets from Aldi, for example, to color the dough instead of food coloring.

    Regarding Angela’s earlier post — yes, cream of tartar can be expensive. But check out local health food stores that sell spices in bulk. I can get it at a mere fraction of the cost of buying a small bottle at a regular grocery store.

    • Lauren says:

      I’ve used the kool-aid recipe and always skip the cream of tarter and it always works great.

      And how cute would strawberry or cherry scented playdough be?

    • Merrilee says:

      I, too, use KoolAid instead of the food coloring and it smells wonderful. This might be a fun birthday gift for a child, too. And it could even be fun to send as a “mix,” with instructions to finish in the kitchen (kind-of like a science project/kit, or the kind Moms send to one another at Christmas). Then it would be fun because the powdered KoolAid mix is almost undetectable, and it could be a surprise to the child, what color/flavor the dough will be.

  • Charity says:

    What a neat alternative to the typical treats for children on Valentine’s Day! My three littles have sensitivities to sugar as actually tears their tummies up (diarrhea). 🙁 I guess it’s because they don’t have sugary treats often.

  • christina says:

    Not sure on the total cost of making it, but if you buy the mini playdoh after the holidays (Valentines, Easter, Halloween and Christmas) you can stock up and have them for goodie bags in the future.

    • Heather says:

      Generally, the full-sized play-doh cans are cheaper per can than the mini ones. But maybe not if there is a post-holiday sale (I’ve never run into one).

  • birthrightrose says:

    You can use 2 packages of Kool Aid instead of the red dye and then it smells better!

  • Bethany says:

    I made a similar recipe with my daughter last week and used 1 Tablespoon of baking soda for every 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. The recipe I used called for a 2 Tbsp of cream of tartar, so I substituted 6 Tbsp of baking soda and it came out great!

    Baking soda was something I had in the house so MUCH less expensive than getting cream of tartar.

  • Megan says:

    I use kool-aid in mine too – smells so good!

  • 1.) I love the Bible verse on these.
    2.) I love hearing from military wives!

    From one military wife to another, way to go Lacey! Cute craft idea!

  • Great idea for my day with my little granddaughter tomorrow. I actually have all the ingredients already. Yay!

  • Amy says:

    I don’t put the cream of tartar in mine, but I put in 2 tablespoons of oil. Instead of the food coloring I put in a package of unsweetned Kool-aid. It smells wonderful and it makes pretty colors. It keeps well in an old margarine/butter tub or a sour cream container.

  • Amy says:

    Kool-Aid Playdough
    • 1 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup salt
    • 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-aid (just the dry koolaid, don’t mix it into juice)
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1. In a bowl, mix flour, salt and kool-aid.
    2. Stir in water and oil
    3. Knead with hands for about 5 minutes.
    4. Store in ziploc bag for up to 2 months.
    5. Use like playdough.
    6. Smells wonderful and takes on the color of the koolaid.

  • Socal says:

    What a neat idea!

  • amanda says:

    you can use other flours too… gets expensive but if you know kids with wheat allergies…. There is a mom in my son’s class that makes the playdoh for school – gluten free, and it works just fine;)

  • If you want to give fruit instead of candy, I found something really cute yesterday that I am thinking of doing. I don’t have sticker paper, though, so I may see if it works with double sided tape and regular paper:

    I love this, and you can use whatever fruit you have on hand.

  • Erin says:

    you can also add spices to homemade playdough! Cinnamon would make the red be like those little red hot candies!
    At Thanksgiving a lady at my church and her older girls made orange playdough (with orange koolaid) and scented it with cloves. They gave it to all the little kids at my mom’s group. It smelled sooooo good. My kids would grab that stuff and ignore the “real” playdoh and play with it for a looooong time.

  • mindy says:

    I have done these and they turned out cute but a little hard to get to school without squishing. The cookie cutters would be expensive since something like that wasn’t available in mass amounts in my area so I did without those. I am doing toothbrushes this year.

  • Lynn says:

    My recipe for homemade playdough is very similar to a previous poster. Easier than “cooking” it as the mixer does the stirring/kneading. Any flavor drink mix works and smells great!

    3 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup salt
    2 pkg. unsweetened koolaid
    3 Tbsp. oil
    2 cups boiling water

    Mix together flour salt, Kool Aid, oil and boiling water. WIth dough hooks on an electric mixer*, mix until well blended. Allow to cool (I put mine out flat on a dinner plate to cool) and store in an airtight container.

    (*love my Kitchen Aid, but I think the dough blade on a food processor would work)

  • We did homemade playdough for Valentine’s Day when my daughter was in kindergarten. While not cheaper than store bought playdough or cards with candy, it was a fun project to do together!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  • Amanda says:

    Just wondering does the food coloring or Kool Aid stain the kid hands??

    • Aimee says:

      Amanda~ I have not tried the Kool Aid version yet but I can say from experience with the red food coloring it has not stained my kids’ hands and they have played with it a lot!! They love it!

    • Lynn says:

      I’ve been making it for years for both my kids and the kids at our church, and I’ve never seen stained hands. It’s fun to make different colors and scents. We don’t drink Kool aid at our house, but when it goes cheap or free I pick up a lot just for this purpose.

  • Crissy says:

    We did these one year for my son’s friends when they were 2 yrs old. You can buy heart cookie cutters at Wal-Mart. I think there’s like 5 for $1-2. They are all different sizes and they are pink. Just be careful as to how far ahead you make it. Ours turned out mushy because we made it too far ahead. The kids and parents loved it though. The parents said they just left it out of the bag for a day and it dried up a little. It was so fun to make them too.

  • Spendwisemom says:

    This is a cute idea if you have younger kids. I love making things from my kitchen for Valentine’s day. From heart shaped pizza and cheese balls to using a double breasted chicken breast which looks like a heart on its own. My teenage son helped me make a heart out of a fried egg and put an arrow through it made from bacon. There are so many fun things you can make!

  • Angie says:

    I’ve never had much luck making play-dough in the past. I haven’t tried the cooked recipe so I can’t wait to try it. I hate that the store bought containers aren’t even recyclable.

  • Kari says:

    If I want to make different colors, instead of just red, can I just cook it and then add the food color later and knead it in?

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