5 balls of homemade playdough in assorted colors

Homemade Zerowaste Playdough

In anticipation of my nephew, Vonn, coming to visit me for the first time in a couple of years I was overwhelmed with excitement. As the type of Capricorn with the incessant need for planning, I immediately started imagining all the things I wanted to prepare in anticipation of the nearly 3 year olds arrival.

While I was at a Canadian Tire with my partner, I came across Play-Doh for 99 cents a piece. "What a deal!", I thought to myself as thoughtlessly I picked out 4 tubs. I proceeded to checkout thinking of they play area I planned to prepare for him in my downtown apartment. While we were standing in line, I started to look at the bins of products guiding customers through the queue, impulse buys, they call them. I said out loud, "plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic" while pointing to hand sanitizer bottles, microfibre clothes and tubs of disposable wipes to my partner. He pointed to my arms, I looked into my own hands with disappointment, holding up my 4 colorful tubs.... "plastic". It is moments like this where am able to self-reflect and analyze my own habits of materialism. I show love through food and gift giving, but that doesn't mean I can't do it sustainably and get the same satisfaction - especially from a 3 year old!

That's when I decided I would make my own playdough!

After a quick search, it turns out all I need to make natural, plastic free, zero waste playdough was a few simple ingredients, most of which I already had in my pantry.

Here is how to make your own natural no-cook playdough from scratch!

ingredients used to make homemade playdough

Big thanks to Divas Can Cook

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fine table salt (Optional- blend for optimal smoothness)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Food coloring 

Simply mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, make a well in the center of the mix and then add your wet ingredients. If it is too wet, add more flour, if it is too dry add more water. Allow to cool before playing! Store in an airtight container when it is not in use. I highly recommend measuring everything to a tee, I got a big frivolous in my measurements after the first batch and it made a big difference in the consistency. If it becomes crumbly after some time you can bring it back to life by adding a dash of oil and working it into the dough.

I wanted a more pastel look so I used around 10 drops of food coloring per batch, double this amount for bolder colors. You can experiment with scent by adding your favourite essential oils.

The recipe was a total success! Vonn played with it for nearly two hours - a big feat according to his mom, who noted he normally plays with a single color for a couple minutes before exclaiming, "NEXT!". She came back from her hour-long run in shock that he was sitting in the exact spot she left him in, contently playing with the same blue play dough she left us with. Eco-auntie win.

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