Play dough revisited

I have been meaning to make some play dough for my daughter for quite some time now. This afternoon, I finally got on with it, and Ruby loved it. I used to make enormous batches of play dough every week for my Nursery class at school, because it is such a fantastic material for children to work with. It helps strengthen fine motor controls, relieves anxiety, encourages role play, and provides a sensory experience, to name just a few of the benefits of good old play dough.
I set out the playdough on the table, along with some glass gem stones, matchsticks and pine cones. Ruby showed no real interest in the pine cones, but the glass gems got a lot of attention. She scooped, poured, piled and buried them in the dough for at least half an hour.

If you would like to make some playdough, when you add colour, you can use any kind of food colouring. I have tried them all over the years, but the best by far are concentrated food pastes, like these. I can highly recommend The Imagination Tree's website for more inspiration of what to do with play dough. You'll find an enormous bank of ideas there.
1 cup / 170g plain flour
1 cup / 250ml boiling water
half a cup / 125g table salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
a dollop or dash of food colouring (if using liquid food colouring, you'll need to add a good glug to get a decent colour. If using the concentrated paste, a little goes a very long way!)

In a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a freestanding mixer, beat all of the ingredients together until a smooth dough has formed.
Alternatively, you can heat the ingredients in a saucepan over a gentle heat, stirring continuously with a heatproof rubber spatula.