Family Screen Free Living

Screen-free Activity: DIY Play Dough

IMG_1539I get a lot of my screen-free, low-key, old school (i.e. lazy path of least resistance) parenting inspiration from my own childhood. So after a couple of days running ourselves ragged soaking up the last bits of summer before we start preschool, I took advantage of having my mom, Avery’s Mimi (DO NOT call her the “G” word – Grandma) in town to have some old school, indoors, screen free fun.

We decided to make our own play dough.  It was fun, simple and left me thinking…why have I not done this sooner?!

Basically you mix together flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, water and food coloring (most of which you should have lying around the house) and voila you have play dough.  Avery had a blast measuring out the ingredients and even made up an adorable song about mixing them together.

We picked one color to make it easy…besides, at 3 they just mix all the colors together and you end up with brown regardless, so making multiple colors is pretty much an exercise in futility.

I love that I know all the ingredients are edible – especially since the reason we had no play dough was because it all has been fed to the dog.  This also would have been awesome when Avery was younger and more prone to putting random things in his mouth.

IMG_1508 (2)Here is the “recipe” we used:


• 1 cup of flour
• 1/2 cup of salt
• 1 tbsp oil (I used Canola Oil – but any vegetable oil will do)
• 2 tbsp cream of tartar (can be found in the “spice” section of the grocery store – we found in the “baking” section of Target)
• 1 cup water
• food coloring


  1. Mix the flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar together in a medium-sized pot. 
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the water with desired amount of food coloring.
  3. Add the water/food coloring mix to the pot and stir well.
  4. Place the pot on medium heat, stirring continuously for about 4 minutes or until it becomes a thick “play dough” like consistency.
  5. Remove from the stove (be careful the dough will be HOT) and knead the dough until it forms the desired consistency.
  6. PLAY!


*Play dough can be stored at room temperature in a ziplock bag or an airtight container.

**Food Color Tip:  Remember red, yellow and blue are primary colors…from those you can make most other colors.

Red + Yellow = Orange     Red + Blue = Purple     Blue + Yellow = Green


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