1. In a moment of weakness, promise your children you will make playdough. Spend the next three hours being hounded out of your mind. Say things like, "When I said I would make playdough, I didn't mean right this very instant." or, "First I have to call Auntie Marina.", and don't forget, "Nobody's making anything until this kitchen gets cleaned up!" Over time, you will run out of excuses. You will feel like the object of a long and relentless foxhunt. You will find yourself hiding in a corner, panting, listening to your children call out your name. Now it is time to capitulate. You must make the playdough.
2. Google a recipe from the internet. It tells you to measure out a cup of flour. Hah! As if. Just imagine how much playdough you want this recipe to yield, and stick that much flour in your pot.
3. The recipe tells you to add a 1/2 cup of salt for every cup of flour. Do you own that much salt? Does the ocean own that much salt? Actually, I do own that much salt. For some reason, I have tons of it. So I pretty much follow that step in the recipe. But I follow it implicitly. Not explicitly.
4. The recipe now calls for 2 T of cream of tartar. Do you know what that is? Do you have any? A quick check of the cupboard reveals that I do not. But! I do discover a white powdered substance in exactly the same little jar reminiscent to that of cream of tartar. The label tells me it is granulated alum. Listen. Only a con artist could tell the difference. So it will have to do.
5. What next? Water. Add the same amount of water as you did flour...in math class, this would be called a ratio. As in, the ratio of water to flour should pretty much be equal.
6. Finally, you better grease these wheels! The recipe calls for 2 T of cooking oil. I got confused and thought I was making pizza dough, so I added more. The world kept on turning.
7. Stir this all up over a medium heat. Does it look too dry? Add more water. Too swampy? More flour. And don't ever become a mathematician.
8. Take the playdough off the heat. Your children will be clamoring all over you like a pack of wolves, so warn them the dough is hot. They won't listen, the little beggars...try counting to twenty and I guarantee you before that time someone will cry out, "Ouch! This is hot!"
9. Now pay attention, because this is probably the only important thing I have to say about the entire process: Let your kids color their playdough. Resist the temptation to tell them red, blue, and yellow make brown. Let them make brown. Let them make puce. Let them tint their dough in hues of liver, henna, and dung. Why? Because it makes them happy.
This is why they wanted you to make playdough in the first place.