Here is a simple recipe that cooks up a lot of fun - Buga had just as much fun making it as she has playing with it (Every day since we made it!) Here is the recipe for fun.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon almond extract
red food coloring (to your taste)
silver glitter (as many shakes as you like)
Measure all of the ingredients into a nonstick pot and stir until it's mixed well (My little one poured and stirred). Cook over medium heat (I did this) until the dough pulls away to form a ball. Take the dough out of the pot and put it on a play dough mat or cutting board. Knead the dough (grown up job until it cools down a bit) until there are no more lumps (kind of like bread or pizza dough). The dough will stay good for several weeks if you are careful to put it in an airtight container or bag when you are done playing.
I put this is a Glad container - on a tray of dough tools. Buga loves rolling it into little snakes, making apple pie, smelling the delicious almond-y smell (she says it smells like almond croissants!) and making "cookies" with them...I put some heart shaped cookie cutters on the tray this time around. Play Dough can be messy....especially if it gets engrained in your carpet - but we have a rule : on the coffee table (her learning station table) and ON the Play Dough Mat (a placemat). It doesn't always work, but more often than not it keeps it to the table. At least this way she knows what to expect - boundary wise - and I can always reference the rule to get it back to the table.
It is such a great manipulative for little ones and there are so many learning possibilities .... volume, shape, part vs. whole, small vs. big, fine motor skills in rolling, cutting, pinching, balling, etc. Enjoy!