In my experience homemade playdough never quite lives up to expectations. The bought stuff always seems to have a better texture, colour and smell (if you like that synthetic perfume: I do!). I remember my mum’s attempts to save money in the 70s with her homemade playdough recipes: ultimately not a cost effective solution because we children were far too fickle and the playdough quickly dried out and was binned.

So when searching for ideas to entertain my tribe on another wet and windy day, I was skeptical about whether this playdough recipe would pass the test with equally discerning guinea pigs. I needn’t have worried, things have obviously moved on a bit in the last 40 years (gulp!) and this recipe I found on Pinterest really works. Not only that it uses another staple of my 70s childhood: JELLY!

jelly playdough

Please don’t think that this homemade recipe will produce the day-glo colours of branded playdough, but it does produce an excellent textured, sweet smelling playdough in lovely pastel colours.

Most recipes use Jello which is a US product not readily available here in the UK. However I did find one using the normal solid packs of jelly we see in our supermarkets on this great blog Things for Boys. To make things a bit easier for you, I’ve converted all the measurements from American cups to metric.

My children all enjoyed making the playdough as much as playing with it afterwards. Younger children can help measuring out, stirring and so on; older ones will need supervision using the cooker and handling boiling water.

homemade playdough

Jelly Playdough

Makes one large ball of playdough

1 x 135g packet of jelly

225ml hot water

80g salt

170g plain flour

2 tbsp cream of tartar

2 tbsp cooking oil (we used sunflower)

First dissolve your jelly in the hot water in a measuring jug or mixing bowl. Once completely dissolved add the salt and stir until this too has disappeared. Your mixture may look curdled, this is OK! Next measure out all your dry ingredients and the oil into a saucepan. Stir in the jelly mixture with a wooden spoon. It will be quite liquid and lumpy – don’t worry.  I found using a whisk helped get rid of any lumps.

Now heat on a low to medium setting, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. It should start to form a ball in your pan and come away from the sides. Be careful not to allow the dough to burn by keeping it moving. Once it has formed a dough take off the heat and keeping stirring / beating until it is smooth.

Now turn out onto a work surface and continue to knead using a wooden spoon until it’s cool enough to handle. At this point you can get the children to do this for you!

Wrap in cling film or store in an airtight container. The recipe I followed says it will keep for 4 months.

We made this homemade playdough a few weeks ago and since then it’s clocked up a lot of hours of fun. My 12-year-old who is increasingly too old to play L has been busy coordinating “bake offs” with her younger siblings. And my 10-year-old Minecraft addict has found that a weekend spent off the computer can be just as enjoyable as unlimited computer time!

[stextbox id=”tmk-box”]A version of this blog post has appeared on the Messy Me website. Their oilcloth tablecloths, as featured in the photos above, are available to buy online by the metre. They also have a range of oilcloth tunics, highchair covers, mini aprons and more to keep messy little ones and surfaces covered! [/stextbox]

Let me know how you get on with this recipe! We used orange, strawberry and lime jelly to make these colours. Jane x

This post is added to Monday’s Parenting Pin it

Mum Of One