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Help please, for some reason my batches of playdough keep going sticky. They have always been absolutely fine until recently. Now after a day or so it goes really sticky and I have to throw it away.

Any ideas or suggestions would be very thnkfully received.

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This has been discussed before, try a search :)


Do you do cooked dough or salt dough?


We made some yesterday with the children. I find if I do small batches then the dough gets kneeded very well and the results last for over a term. iT ALSO INVOLVES ALL CHILDREN WHO ARE INTERESTED.


This is what we do; Supervision is required due to hot water.


The child has a small bowl ( we use plastic cereal size bowls from Ikea)


The ingrediants are available in easy access container on the table;

Plain Flour - with large spoon in it ( larger than table spoon size)

Salt- with large spoon in it

Cream of Tarter - with teaspoon in it

small bowl of oil - with tablespoon in it

Large sturdy jug of boiling water ( colouring added if required)

essence bottle ( peppermint, lemon, orange etc)



the child scoops into his/her bowl

2 X large spoons ( or small cups) of Plain flour

1 X large spoon ( or small cup) of salt

1 half teaspoon of 'magic powder' ( cream of tarter)


stir / mix contents together with index finger, make a small well in centre


child adds a desertspoon of oil


Adult adds water, enough to fill the small well, and a drop of essence


Child stirs mixture with a teaspoon, once stirred it helps to press down on the mixture with the back of the spoon to 'push' it all together. Adult checks it has cooled enough.


child kneeds the mix in the bowl, it should mould together, if flour etc is still dry adult adds a little more water, mix / kneed again.


remove from bowl and child takes it to another part of table to continue kneeding and playing with, leaving room for the next childs turn next to the adult.


Sounds complex when written but is really easy, an ongoing activity that draws children to it and can last all morning by which time there is enough dough for everyone to share at a future preschool session :D:D


below are some pics taken yesterday. ( stage 1 - scoop the flour)



You could do a simpler version with just Dough, salt and cold water ( salt dough )

This enables children to do it independently of an adult, should they wish to. :D


2 parts dough ( cup, spoon, bowl, any container)

2 parts salt ( same container as above)

1 part water ( same size container as above)

mix and kneed.



I made a larger batch of the first recipe and it did go sticky, I put it in the microwave for a few minutes, stickiness went but it became crumbly. ( crumbly test, will it roll into a sausage, no, then too dry)

I put it all back into a bowl and added more water (cold) . It was quite wet and sticky but as I rolled it ( not kneeded it) between my hands it formed into a lovely soft dough, which was still ok this morning.


We keep our dough in lidded containers in the cupboard. ( not fridge)


As you are most probably aware, it is a bit trial and error to get the perfect mix, but lots of fun in the process. :D





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Hi Chill, we have had many a conversatio about playdough here and many of us have our own favourite recipe, but if you have always had a success until recently, the obvious question to ask is are you using anything different eg differnt flour, or preparing in a different way, or have you changed the way you store it?

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It is the cooked dough like Peggy's that is causing angst. I have always made it in large batches wih no problem. I have been trying all sorts of flour but had not considered paint being the culprit!!!! It is just such a pain!

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have you recently chnaged from using colouring to paint. we use paint powder now as its cheaper but generally dont have any problems. I use the 'add very hot watre' method rathre than the cook on the stove method, and I do find that its all in the kneading, the more you knead whilst warm, the better the dough seems to be.

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I may have misread part of Peggy's post - do you really keep your playdough for a long time, as much as a term????

We make one batch, divide it into 2 and use the 1st one week, throw it away at the end of the week and use the 2nd half the following week. I understand playdough to be a potential carrier of threadworm eggs but I suppose I could be wrong. However, the thought absolutely revolts me so we choose to change the playdough weekly, plus it gets licked, sneezed on and we are never sure how clean the children's hands are when they play with it. It also falls on the floor where it gets stepped on, then possibly put back on the table. Better to be safe than sorry in my book!

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When we make P.dough, like we did on Friday, we make enough to last a whole term, ie: we made 4 batches,

1/ green with peppermint essence

2/yellow with lemon essence

3/ blue with orange essence ( just to confuse :o )

4/ one plain no colour no essence


We are currently playing with batch 1. The rest is stored in lidded containers. As batch one wears out, it is then replaced. It can be less than two weeks or over two weeks, like Andreamay says it depends on how many colds, tummy bugs, etc are around. If licked or gets stood on it is thrown away.


What I meant was that batch 4 will still be useable a term after it is made. :D


Our children tend to do lots of handwashing throughout the session, partly because the cloakrooms are such easy access and partly because we run a rolling snack bar and children wash hands every time they use it which can be more than once or twice during a session.


In 5 yrs I have had one incident of threadworm although not clear whether it originated at the setting, when informed by parent we discarded all the playdough.



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