I have played with my playdough recipe for years... and I think I finally have it! I have tried repeatedly with no cream of tartar- and it always comes out sticky and not quite right.
This recipe with the cream of tartar makes such a nice, smooth ball of dough. And it seems to stay soft as long as we keep in in plastic bowls or bags.
All you need is:
2 cups flour
2 cups water
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2/3 cup salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
This recipe makes a lot, but I like to do it that way so there is enough for all 3 children. Also, for the food coloring, I went to Market Basket and they actually had a "neon" set, which made the brightest, prettiest colors.
You simply add the flour, salt, cream of tartar to a large saucepan, mix in the oil and water. Put the pan on a low to medium heat and just keep stirring:
It will seem quite liquidy, but just keep stirring for a few minutes. It will soon start to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the pan:
You then know it is done and you can separate it into smaller balls and add your colors. You could add the color during the liquid cooking process if you want the whole batch to be one color, but we wanted a bunch of different colors, so we through on some rubber gloves and kneaded the color in after it was "cooked". And actually, the kids enjoyed making their own colors and mixing it themselves.
And there you have it, an afternoon of entertainment for a few kids: