How to Make Alum Playdough

Dad and daughter making homemade playdough
Dad and daughter making homemade playdough. Getty Images/Laura Natividad/Moment
Total Time 15 min
Prep 5 min, Cook 10 min
Yield 1 container of playdough

Playdough is a timeless toy. It's something you undoubtedly played with as a kid and now your child can, too. You can easily pick up Hasbro's Play-Doh at the store in an assortment of fun, bright colors, but it's also really easy to make your own at home.

There are so many DIY playdough recipes, but this one requires absolutely no cooking whatsoever. It's really easy to make, and the fact that it doesn't call for stovetop cooking, unlike so many other recipes, means your toddler can help.

Benefits of Playdough

Playdough is such a simple thing, but it offers so many wonderful benefits. It's like a workout for your child's fine motor skills. The constant shaping and manipulation playing with playdough requires will give your child greater strength and control of their hands, fingers, and wrists, which will come in handy when your child becomes old enough to write, color and cut with scissors. It also improves hand-eye coordination.

Playdough also develops your child's cognitive abilities by providing opportunities for self-expression, imagination, creativity and spatial understanding. It's also a wonderful way to encourage your child to interact with others through parallel or collaborative play, which will improve communication and language skills.

When to Introduce Playdough

Your little one is picking up new skills and knowledge every single day, so as they grow older the way they use playdough will become more involved. You can introduce your child to playdough as early as you'd like, but depending upon your child's developmental level they will probably be able to get the most out of playing with playdough at about 2 years of age.

You certainly don't have to hold off on playdough until your child is 2, however. If you want your child to play with playdough, go for it. Just know that because of their age, they don't have the motor skills to really play with playdough. It could be more frustrating than fun. A great gateway to playdough is feelie bags. They encourage motor skills just like playdough, but they are more developmentally appropriate.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons alum
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 mixing bowls; one larger

Preparation

  1. In the smaller mixing bowl, combine water, oil and food coloring.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in the other, larger mixing bowl.
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients while mixing with spoon.
  4. When dough becomes stiff enough, squeeze and knead dough with your hands.
  5. If dough is sticky, add more flour as needed.
  6. Refrigerate in an airtight container for best freshness.

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