There is nothing worse than trying to entertain a toddler. I mean seriously. OK, well maybe trying to keep a bunch of toddlers, or well, kids of any age entertained can be pretty darn hard. Sometimes it’s even harder when the one thing all the other kids are playing with, your child can’t. Allergies, especially food based ones are hard enough on us adults. Let alone our children. We spend so much time and effort making sure that our Coeliac or GI kids don’t eat the wrong thing that it can be easy to forget the contamination that can occur with something as simple as play dough. Luckily for us, there is a seriously easy answer. Make your own Gluten Free Play Dough!
The even better thing is that there really is no difference between gluten free play dough and the good ole regular kind. So you can make batches of the stuff for all of your children and their friends and they’d never know the difference. In fact, I have several teachers friends who make all of their own play dough and automatically make it gluten free. That way if any of the kids in their class have allergies they don’t have to worry about play time!
Do I Really Need To Worry?
Sadly the answer is yes. Of course, it completely depends on your own situation and how severe your child’s reaction might be. But in short, the gluten found in store bought play dough can transfer to their hands and should they eat something afterwards without washing, they can be contaminated. There’s also that pesky fact that a lot of younger kids sometimes eat it too!
There’s not just our kids to worry about either. I personally love playing with play dough! I have so many memories of my Nan making batches for my sister and I when we were kids. So naturally I knew I wanted to be able to do that with my son too. Of course, to be able to play safely with him I would need it to be gluten free too! Luckily for me, it turned out easy as pie to make us a batch and now it’s a regular at our play times. My only hope is that he too has these memories of us making and playing with gluten free play dough when he’s older.
Gluten Free Play Dough For The Win!
The fantastic thing about making gluten free play dough is just how simple it is. Especially if you have a slow cooker! There’s no bounds on your creativity either! Make your dough any colour you like or even jazz it up a little and add some glitter or essential oils. Actually a friend of mine swears by adding just a few drops of a calming essential oil blend to her play dough! The perfect quiet time activity for kids that actually helps them calm down too! I definitely wouldn’t argue with that.
If you’re feeling really clever, why not make up a few batches of gluten free play dough for kids parties! I love a good bag of favours after a party. Especially when you’re receiving or gifting something other than sugar! (I know, right, who would’ve thought. Me?! I love sugar!) Haha But not when it comes to my son, well not all the time anyway. I think there would be nothing better than receiving a jar of gluten free play dough and some cookie cutters in a goodie bag. Don’t you?! So be sure to pin this one for later, I think you’ll definitely want to pull that trick out sometime. I know I will!
So what are you waiting for? Grab the kids and hit the kitchen. You’ll be designing play dough animals and houses together in no time!
Slow Cooker Gluten Free Play Dough
- 2 cups Rice Flour
- 1 cup Gluten Free Corn Flour White Wings brand
- 1 cup Table Salt
- 1/4 cup Cream of Tartar
- 2 cups Hot Water Not boiling
- 2 tsp Canola Oil
- Asstd. Liquid Food Dyes, glitter or essential oils
- In the bowl of a slow cooker add all of the dry ingredients; flour, corn flour, salt and cream of tartar. Give it a rough mix and turn on the slow cooker to allow it to start warming up.
- Add the liquid ingredients; water and oil and mix roughly with a wooden spoon. Now all you have to do is bang the lid of your slow cooker on, turn it to High or Auto setting and walk away.
- How long your play dough will take will be up to the size and heat of your slow cooker. Mine is quite large and I only have an Auto setting so it only took 30 minutes!! If you have a smaller cooker and a High setting it can take up to 2 hours, however I recommend setting a timer and checking it and giving it a good stir every 30 minutes. Once it starts to clump together and form a slightly sticky ball it's done!
- Turn your dough out onto the bench (be careful, it's hot!) and knead it gently until it really smooths out. If you're finding your dough a bit dry or too wet you can simply add a touch more warm water or flour until you reach the desired consistency.
- Separate and roll your dough into balls, push a thumb into the center of each and add as much or as little food colouring as you like. Knead it through until the desired consistency is reached! There is no such thing as too much colour here or too much glitz for that matter, so feel free to add some glitter in too or a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
- Store your play dough by wrapping tightly in cling wrap and popping into a plastic container. It should keep this way for approx 3 months or so, then you can just whip up another batch and throw the old stuff out.
- Be sure to check that your Cornflour is gluten free. In Australia corn flour is not actually made from corn, so be sure to check for a gluten free label on the box! White Wings GF Cornflour, which is readily available in most supermarkets, is my go to!
- Use sea salt and not rock salt in this recipe as it's a much finer blend and will result in a much smoother dough.
- The classic Queen liquid food dyes work the best for play dough over a gel or powder dye. I find gels tend to take a lot of work to get the colour to spread evenly through. Queen food dyes also happen to be gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free and vegan!
- To make clean up a cinch be sure to place a mat or even grease proof paper underneath your dough whilst adding the the dyes. This will make sure you don't accidentally dye your kitchen counters!
Your gluten free play dough is now ready for some serious fun! I must admit, it did take me a while to let the creativity flow and just have some good old fun with my boy. Hard isn’t it? To return to the free flowing vibe of childhood! Tell me in the comments below, what’s the first thing you’re going to make with play dough?