Wonderful play dough recipes are available, for all kinds of projects. But suppose that all you really want to do is keep a little kid busy for awhile, so you can get dinner ready or help the older ones with homework? This recipe is quick, easy, cheap, and gets the job done, with no frills, bells, or whistles.

Things You Will Need

1. salt (cheap non-iodized salt is fine)
2. flour (cheap, white, no-rise flour is fine)
3. water
4. cup
5. mixing bowl
6. spoon for stirring
7. liquid food coloring (optional)
8. play dough tools (optional)

(Tools are often cleverly disguised as kitchen equipment in your home, such as forks, butter knives, cookie cutters, toothpicks, and various other things.)

Step 1

no-cook playdough (flour and salt)Find the salt and flour.

Step 2

No-Cook Playdough (find cups)Find the measuring cup that you want to use this time. For the first time, or a young child, or a short amount of time to play, then a 1/4 cup is probably enough. For an older child, or a longer time period, then a whole cup might be indicated. Pick any cup you want, of any sort, just be sure to use the same cup to measure both the flour and the salt.

Step 3

No-Cook Playdough (measure salt)Fill up the cup with the salt, and then pour it into the mixing bowl.

Step 4

No-Cook Playdough (measure flour)Fill up the same cup with flour, and the pour it into the mixing bowl.

Step 5

No-Cook Playdough (stir)Stir. Mix the flour and salt together well.

Step 6

No-Cook Playdough (add water)Add water. It is very important to keep several things in mind, while you are adding the water. You will probably not need all of the water you have, so watch it closely while you are adding the water. Pour slowly and carefully, and stir the whole time, so you will know when you have enough. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. You will know it is done when the dough starts to clump up into a ball and looks and feels like play dough.

Step 7

No-Cook Playdough (sprinkle)Sprinkle some flour on the table or wherever you are planning to work. Dust your hands with some flour, also, before you start.

Step 8

No-Cook Playdough (play)Dump out the playdough onto the floured table and play with it. If the dough or your hands get a little sticky, just add some more flour and salt, a sprinkle here and there, as needed. It works best to add flour to your hands, or to put it on the table and then roll the dough in it, rather than put flour directly on top of the dough. I don't know why, but it's true.

Step 9

If your child starts to lose interest after awhile (but you wish they'd keep playing for a bit longer), then bring out some Very Useful Playdough Tools. These are probably disguising themselves in your kitchen, as things like a fork, butter knife, cookie cutters, or toothpicks. Of this short list, toothpicks are the most useful, and will keep your child busy for the longest period of time. In fact, you may be surprised how long a lump of playdough and handful of toothpicks can keep a kid busy!

Step 10

Put the playdough in a plastic bag or container when you are finished, and it will stay good for several days. If it starts to get old or dirty looking, just throw it away (it's cheap!) and make a new batch.
If you make a project and leave it out on the table (on wax paper), it will air dry pretty hard and stay good for a long time. You can paint it later, too. However, this dough is not the best choice for a very special project that you might want to last forever. There are many other dough recipes available for those special types of projects, for older children or adults or more advanced projects, but this simple recipe will keep a little kid busy for a long time, with very little effort or expense.

Tips & Warnings

ALERT! The playdough will dry hard, so be sure to wash the table, your dishes, and tools, while the playdough on them is still damp and fresh. If you let it dry out, it will be a whole lot more trouble to wash things later.

TIP! It will not hurt your child a bit to let them satisfy their curiosity by licking the dough. It is half-salt, so most kids try one or two licks, and don't want any more, anyway, because it tastes so bad.