Toddler Distractions: Play Dough

Yesterday Miranda told you about some of the new frustrations that come with having toddlers in our houses. I swear that Macie and Beckett have some weird mind communication where they conspire against us some days - they know when we are trying to plan something, do something, go somewhere and decide to make that the moment to make us insane. It's an amazing gift they seem to have. Macie seems to get bored easily and that has been so hard for me. Before you laugh at me and tell me that's part of life with a toddler - I know! Because I know it's a part of having a toddler, I've been wanting to find some ways to fill Macie's day that doesn't involve a Super Why/Curious George marathon. That may or may not have happened while I was feeling sick -- don't judge.

The coloring book that I made a little while back has been a huge hit in the house so I've proclaimed Macie as artsy. Heh. Every artsy kid needs a few things - crayons for drawing, some paints for capturing life in paints and some play dough for all the fancy sculpting. Macie has the crayons, my new carpet is scared of paints so I decided it was time to try out the play dough. I remember as a kid my mom would make homemade play dough and I had the best time with it. Turns out, this is a pretty easy thing to whip up. There are lots of versions of play dough floating around online, I used the one from adelynSTONE and I think it's a really good one.


1 C Flour
1 C Water
2 tsp Cream of Tarter
1 Tbsp Oil
1/4 C Salt 
Food Coloring (color of your choice) - use as much as you want to get the color you want.
Glitter (optional)
Air Tight Container
Small to Medium Sauce Pan

Mix the flour, water, oil, cream of tarter, salt and food coloring (glitter if you want it) together in the sauce pan. I let Macie help me with this part and she thought it was the best thing ever. I put her on a chair in the kitchen and let her go to town. She mixed so hard that flour went all over the place. Amazingly, it didn't matter at all - this is a pretty forgiving play dough. I wish baking were as easy!

Once everything is mixed and pretty much lump free, place the pan on the stove and mix over medium heat. Don't stop stirring. It will start to get thick and bubbly and then the dough will start to form. Once the dough has formed (usually around the spoon) - you're done! Knead the dough until it is cool. If you have older kids I'm sure they would love to knead the warm dough but since I just have little miss Macie, I kneaded everything myself. As soon as I started kneading the dough, the smell hit me. It was one of the smells of childhood for me. It's so funny how smells do that ... thankfully it's a good smell. I have no interest in some of the gross smells of childhood. Anyway - knead the dough until it's cool and store it in an air tight container. 

I gave the play dough to Macie to play with and she was so mesmerized by it, she had no idea what to do with herself. Once I smooshed it (yes, smooshed) for her and showed her how it can mash into anything, she was hooked. She mushes all of it in her hands until it comes out around her fingers and then she laughs and laughs. It cracks me up. Play dough can make a huge mess, but it keeps her occupied for a little while. We switch between coloring, play dough and then back again. I'm going to throw a couple other things, like sensory bags, into the rotation and see how it goes. Feel free to give any ideas you have for entertaining an always bored almost 2 yr old!!