Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

Trial run: One Minute Playdough

on 3 March, 2013

Ok, so it is blizzarding to beat hell outside, and so OBVIOUSLY, I spent the morning with the fireplace, a vanilla latte, and my iPad. Both my google reader and my Pinterest feed were fully loaded, and I honestly don’t remember what led me to this:

ONE MINUTE PLAYDOUGH!!! (click through for the original post)

I know.

Playdough with 2 easy ingredients, one minute, NO COOKING? Not even boiling water?

I pinned it (because: of course I did.), and tweeted it out to my #kinderchat posse.

Of course, everyone was immediately skeptical. And the comments section of the original post report mixed results. So, what the hell: snowy Sunday, 2 ingredients – I tried it.

Ingredients: 1 cup regular white flour. Several big swirly squirts of Dawn, (original blue) dishwashing liquid soap. I wonder if a cheaper, more watery brand would make a softer dough…

Process: Put flour in bowl. Add big squirt of soap. Mix with hands until all the liquid is combined. Repeat until it is one lump of dough and not an assortment of crumbs. (I used progressively smaller squirts as it got closer and closer to being dough.)

Once it was one big lump, I pulled it out of the bowl and kneaded on the counter until it was all the same colour and texture. (The colour was sort of light-toothpastey blue. I didn’t add any other food colour, but I’m sure you could.)


  • It is not quite like regular playdough, but more… rubbery/springy/tough. Sort of like when you make floury biscuit dough and it springs back a little when you roll it or poke it. It also feels a little soapy (which, hello Captain Obvious, MAKES SENSE, because IT IS MADE OF SOAP.) In general, it is firmer than regular playdough, but workable, and I think workable for little hands. Would be a good workout for those with weak hand & finger muscles!
  • I set it on a cutting board that was still a little damp, and it got sticky and sort of broke down where it touched, which, once again, MAKES SENSE because IT IS MADE OF SOAP.
  • I rolled it on a dry counter top, and and because it leaves a thin film of soap on the surface, it didn’t have enough traction to roll more than once in any given spot. It was easier to roll between my hands.
  • It doesn’t stick together (see the snowman) as well as regular playdough, and once you break a piece off, it takes some effort to knead it back into the rest of the dough.
  • It seemed like maybe, after a certain point, it got stiffer the more I kneaded and played with it.
  • It has now been sitting on the counter for 15 or 20 minutes, and the surface is getting a little dry, but softened up with I worked it a little.
  • I didn’t try it with a rolling pin or cookie cutters because I don’t have any at home. I think it would work okay, but that cutouts would puff out a little and get not-so-clear around the edges.


(The picture makes it look more crumbly and dry than it really was. I never pretended to be a photographer.)

Unexpected advantages:

  • My hands and countertop are VERY clean, because I basically just rubbed soap all over them and then rinsed with water.
  • It smells clean and pleasant, and you could vary the smell by using different dish soap.
  • While I did not ACTUALLY taste it, I’m thinking that the whole “no eating playdough” thing would be a non-issue, even with toddlers, because IT IS MADE OF SOAP.
  • Because you make it “by feel” and not with a precise ratio of ingredients, it would be super easy to make a batch of any size, or for each child to make their own small batch in a bowl.
  • When you are done with the batch, kids could break off tiny pieces and use them to wash their hands, and they would think it was HILARIOUS to wash their hands with playdough!

Possible pitfalls:

  • Not sure how it would affect kids with very sensitive skin. (Hmmm… I wonder if you could do it with baby shampoo?)
  • Handwashing afterwards is important, because IT IS MADE OF SOAP.

Verdict: I would totally make it with kids. I think they would like the process and the product. Flour and liquid soap are pretty easy to come by. It would also be a good one to keep in mind if you do not have kids, but have friends with kids who ever visit you. You could be the coolest auntie/uncle/grownup IN THE WORLD!

So, there you go. Now, it’s your turn – make yourself some soapdough and let me know how it goes!


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