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Updated: Dec 8, 2020

The ingredients are simple but the method can be tricky. Flour, an absurd amount of salt, oil, water, and the secret ingredient, cream of tartar. Finally, a few drops of food coloring. It's playdough day.

Playdough is one of those things people can love and hate. It can be sticky, it gets smushed into the carpet, it gets mixed with other colors and end up looking kind of like the smiling poop emoji. I love playdough, most of the time. The smell of fresh-cooked playdough transports me back to my childhood home, the round kitchen table with Toby-dog bite-marks, Mom standing at the kitchen sink while my brother and I play and create with warm, soft playdough.

No matter the ages of my children, playdough draws a crowd. The littles vying for the role of "kneader" on the hot-to-the-touch colorful softness, it gets divided afterward and moved to the table. The 6-year-old and the 15-year-old create side-by-side while I, like my mom, stand at the kitchen sink cleaning up dishes.

Today their creations are a "Bake-off." Setting a time limit, they all create something bakery-like, then an impartial judge (me or their dad) rates each creation. Playdough utilizes many skills and strengthens fine motor skills. But more importantly, it creates memories.

Playdough--From Grandma Evelyn Runyan and Ann Bales

2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 cups water

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons oil

food coloring-- a few drops

Combine ingredients in pan and cook on low heat until it comes off

side of pan, stirring constantly. Let cool. Knead well. Keeps in a

plastic bag for up to 8 months.

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