I have tried a few recipes for play dough, and the one that I keep coming back to is one my mother-in-law, who taught pre-school for over thirty years, shared with me.
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Salt
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 cup Water
2 tbsp Oil
Food coloring of choice
Combine flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a sauce pan. Gradually stir in mixture of water and oil; add food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and forms a ball. Remove dough from heat and transfer to counter; knead until smooth.
This dough recipe is not terribly sticky or crumbly, nor does the color leak out. And it lasts for about three to four weeks if stored properly in an airtight container when children are not immersed in play.
This evening, I made two batches of play-dough in two different colors--red and green. Esme's favorite color is red, and I know my friend's son has a passion for green. The green will be part of the little boy's birthday gift, since we unfortunately missed his party a couple of weeks ago.
If you are wondering, I rolled each batch of dough and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap to keep them pretty until morning.
There is one thing I can almost always count on: there is nothing like play-dough for keeping my children busy for thirty minutes at a time!