I have three small children and I've become almost hyper aware of what I'm buying them when I purchase toys. I have started checking companies to make sure they are within the us, stopped buying dollar store stuffed, plastic or metal toys and make a point to check every ingredient in just about everything... Way to many toys have slipped through our loosely written regulations with toxic ingredients which poison our children and our environment. And way to many companies use terrifying employment, production and testing practices for me to ever support...
Because of this when my boys told me they wanted a package of Playdough I felt it was up to me to make sure this product was truly as safe as most parents feel it is. Sure, the box says non-toxic, but what does that really mean? I mean, this is something my kids are going to be putting their hands in, rubbing on my table and dropping on the floor where their baby sister could possibly eat it...
So what's in the stuff anyways? Well, according to Play-Doh's current manufacturer, Hasbro, the compound contains water, salt, and wheat flour, while its 2004 United States patent indicates it is composed of water, a starch-based binder, a retrogradation inhibitor, salt, lubricant, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance, and color. A petroleum additive gives the compound a smooth feel, and borax prevents mold from developing.
I'll be completely honest, some of that frightens me! Sure, it's considered "Non-Toxic" but safe? No, not safe by MY standards! And when it's MY kids, all that matters are MY standards! So I did some research, and some testing... And found what I consider to be the best "Kiddie Dough Recipe."
1 cup white flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 Tablespoons cream of Tartar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3-4 Drops Food Coloring
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the playdough begins to form a ball, it’s cooked. Cool for one minute. Then knead in food coloring.
That’s it! You’re done!
I store mine in small "Ziplock" 1 cup containers. You can also use baggies as long as they are air tight. When it starts to get a little dry, add a drop or two more vegetable oil and it will soften up for you...