Play Dough

My upstairs neighbor (we live in a 4-plex) invited us to a birthday party for their girls a while ago. They said we didn’t need to bring presents, because just having friends at their party would make the girls happy enough. Unfortunately we were unable to attend the party because we were traveling out of state. My cousin just returned from an LDS mission to Germany and we were going to attend her ward on Sunday to hear her speak and then spend time with her at her home afterward. It was a big event that we had been planning on attending for a while, and it was so good to reconnect with not only my cousin who returned from her mission but all the other family members as well! Ah, I love my family. I am so grateful that temple marriages have connected us for eternity!

Even though I had a great time with family, I still felt bad missing my neighbors birthday party. I decided that a little present might be acceptable in our absence. I knew that the girls loved the movie Frozen, so I decided to make some Frozen-themed play dough. This play dough recipe is something that we made countless times when I was a kid, and it is fool-proof. Obviously, you don’t have to make yours Frozen-themed. You can leave out the sparkles and color it differently, but the basic play dough recipe will be the same.

Originally I didn’t have the alum, so I talked to my personal cooking mentor, my mom, who said that the alum helps soften the play dough and makes it last longer. So I bought the alum, and the dough came out perfect as usual. I suggest you probably don’t leave it out either. Although this technically is a “salt dough”, it only uses 1/2 of a cup of salt unlike other recipes which may use up to 2 cups. Because it uses less salt, it softer and less crumbly.

I have been told that if you add the food coloring to the water it will color the play dough more evenly but the colors will not be as vibrant as if you knead it into the dough. I therefore added my food coloring as I kneaded the play dough, and didn’t have a problem with it mixing in evenly.

I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the water, to make the dough smell good, and you could do the same thing with other extracts, such as mint or lemon. Just make sure to clarify with younger children that  just because it smells good, it isn’t good to eat. When I was a kid, we babysat a little girl at our house, and we pulled out the play dough. While we weren’t watching, she ate a whole bunch of the play dough and it really upset her stomach. It is great for playing, but not so great for eating. But don’t worry, I have an edible play dough recipe coming soon! 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups water
3 TBS oil
1 TBS alum
1/2 cup salt
2 1/2 cups flour
Combine the water, oil and alum in a pot, and bring it to a boil. In a separate bowl, combine the salt and flour. Pour the boiling water over the flour mixture and mix with a spoon. When it is cool enough to touch, knead the dough with your hands to fully mix everything together. 
Add food coloring to the dough as you knead. I used about 18-20 drops of food coloring in each ball (1 batch made both balls of play dough).
Store the play dough in an airtight container.

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