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Sanity with Sarah: Play-Doh with Pantry Ingredients

Sanity with Sarah: Play-Doh with Pantry Ingredients

I’m just going to put it right out there—I’m a girl mom who hates slime.

There. I’ve said it.

I don’t even care. I don’t even hesitate to say no when Sophie tries (often) to poach my contact solution or corn starch. That’s me—meanest mom ever! I hate slime.

I don’t, however, hate Play Doh. Besides how amazing it smells, I can totally get down with building tiny animals or making and pretending to eat little brightly-colored pizzas. Slime is useless; Play Doh helps with fine motor skills. I do have a 3-year-old, after all. And ok, fine, I also like to make tiny penguins 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Homemade dough is great for fine motor skills building

I usually have a 12-pack of those little yellow bottles floating around in my arts and crafts bag, so when Maddie asked to do Play Doh, I went digging. Only to discover that there was approximately 1/8 tsp of crusty, dried-out dough in the bottom of each bottle 🤦🏻‍♀️ Not going to get far with that.

Since Play Doh doesn’t quite come under the umbrella of necessities, I felt like our governor wouldn’t approve of a Walmart run (and she shouldn’t! Stay the heck home, people!). So I turned to the internet for an at-home Play Doh recipe. Many of the recipes that came up listed cream of tartar as an ingredient. I don’t have that in my kitchen, and I wasn’t about to run to the grocery store for it, but a quick google search for substitutions showed you can use white vinegar instead (both ingredients apparently help with preservation and elasticity.) So Mad and I whipped up a quick batch, and it was super easy and fun to make (although I will admit, it lacks the amazing smell of authentic Play Doh 😂)



2 cups flour

3/4 cup salt

8 teaspoons white vinegar

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups room-temp(ish) tap water

Food coloring, glitter

Scented oil or vanilla (if desired)



1. Combine flour, salt, and vinegar in a medium saucepan; mix well. Add vegetable oil and water to the pan and stir. (We made two batches, and when the first batch came out great but smelled a little vinegar-y, I poured a little bit of my Clearly Not Vanilla into the measuring cup of water before I added it to the dough. It definitely made the dough smell a lot yummier!)

Mixing homemade play doh

2. Place pan on stove over medium heat. Stir constantly for several minutes. When your dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, remove from heat and allow it to cool a bit.

showing the consistency of finished play doh

3. Scoop dough into several separate quart-sized zipper bags; we did 4 colors per batch. Add food coloring and glitter (if desired), and knead dough until color is evenly distributed. We used my Cookie Countess Neon gels to get a nice bright set of colors!

coloring dough with food coloring

4. The dough can be stored in the zipper bags or small containers, whatever you prefer. From what I’ve read, it looks like it will stay fresh longer if you store it in the fridge, so hopefully this batch will last us through the current state of affairs.


    Maddie had fun using my cookie cutters in addition to her Play Doh toys. When Sophie heard what we were doing, she wanted to take a break from her distance learning to play with us (if her teacher asks, we were working on science). I also let her use some fondant molding tools so she could be fancy. That of course led to fighting over said fondant tools, but such is life in a house with more than one child. Soph grudgingly went back to her schoolwork after a little bit, but Maddie was content to make pancakes and smoosh my little penguins for much of the afternoon.

    Take that, stupid slime.

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