Pantry Basics: Play Dough

play dough recipe

play dough recipe

Regular readers may have noticed that I really enjoy making the odd children’s amusement from scratch. I think even CH didn’t fully comprehend my love of working with my hands until our toddler T came along. After almost a dozen years of marriage, it only recently dawned upon him that I’m a “crafty kind of girl” (I’m not quite sure if the pun was intended). I simply don’t believe that children ought to only discover things through pre-packaged stimuli that come out of a box. Of course, T receives plenty of toys, I don’t shun them, and he loves technology. But I try my best to throw in simple things like squishing play dough (yes, that’s a burger made out of play dough pictured above), touching grass with your bare feet, playing with ice cubes, finger painting, threading pasta, counting soybeans, and learning to tear sheets of paper into the mix.

When I make something for him, it gives T and I the chance to have a discussion. We talk about the colours and textures he likes. I explain what the various components or ingredients are, and warn him about hot pans and sharp knives or scissors. He gets a full view of how things progress, how ingredients transform. And if there are decisions to be made along the way, we have a chat about them. For example, I personally thought black play dough coloured with charcoal powder then dusted with silver glitter, and brown play dough colored with cocoa powder (it smelt awesome) then dusted with gold glitter were terribly cool. T thought they looked like poop and had no interest in touching them. Who would’ve guessed? (It didn’t help that papa was shaping them into poop and leaving them on the floor.) Making things with T gives me the chance to expand his perspective of the world around him just a little. It also helps me to get to know him a whole lot better.

play dough recipe

So, I started making T play dough late last year. When he first touched it, he was totally baffled by its texture. He loved the bright, bold colours. And it has become one of his favourite things to play with. We use it in all sorts of ways. The incredible list of play dough recipes and activities over at The Imagination Tree is one of my many online inspirations.

But there are heaps of play dough recipes out there. I hadn’t intend to add mine to the list until I discovered, quite by accident, that that using Hong Kong flour (a highly bleached flour used for making Chinese steamed buns) results in incredibly smooth and pliable dough. This means that when you unmould the play dough, it pops out really easily and the details are very clear. I happened to be clearing out some old Hong Kong flour out of my pantry some months ago and decided that rather than junking it, I’d make T some play dough with it. It’s now our favourite play dough recipe!


About Su-Lyn Tan

Su-Lyn is Aun's better half and for many years, the secret Editor behind this blog known to readers simply as S. Su-Lyn is an obsessive cook and critical eater whose two favourite pastimes are spending time with her three kids and spending time in the kitchen. She looks forward to combining the two in the years to come.