When should you let a child have play-doh?

My daughter is busy playing in the hummus, and I am wondering if 19 months is too early to have play-doh.

She’ll prolly eat it.

How about really thick oatmeal?

I think it’s fine as long as you don’t leave her alone with it. Also, kids vary. I could trust my daughter not to put stuff in her mouth from a very young age, but I had to watch my son a bit.

Just as soon as you are ready to start cleaning it out of the carpets.

The recommended age on the package is 2-7 years, so she’s a tiny bit young, officially. Is she pretty good about not putting things in her mouth that aren’t food, or, at least, will she stop if you tell her to?

If not, she will probably eat it. It’s very salty, so she probably wouldn’t eat a lot, however.

If she is pretty good, though, you can always try and see what happens (obviously, closely supervised). The texture is fairly soft, but certainly more stiff than hummus, so she may not find it as easy to manipulate, and, thus, not as much fun.

One note of caution: According to Hasbro, children who are allergic to wheat gluten may have an allergic reaction to Play-Doh.

I wouldn’t bet on that. I loved eating Play-Doh when I was a kid because it was very salty.

FWIW, I’m living proof that it’s pretty much nontoxic, but if you’re worried about her eating it, you can make an all-natural version with two parts flour to one part salt and enough water to moisten it to the desired consistency.

Close supervision is the key. Children can fashion choking hazards out of it, so not only do you have to worry about them eating the soft doh, but choking on the dry or hard dry doh. It can be tricky clearing an airway that small, especially if you have a biter.

It will stain clothes, and make a mess, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Let her keep playing in the hummus. It’s hard to choke on, and it’s easy to wash off. And you have a lovely, lemony-garlicky baby afterwards :slight_smile:

My grandmother used to let me play with real dough when I was a small child. It would prevent any concerns about her eating it or ruining the carpet, but the choking hazard is probably the same.

I’ve got video of my twins playing w/PlayDoh in their bedroom while I’m cleaning the kitchen. They couldn’t have been more than 18 mos at the time.

Just remember to buy it at Target or Wal*Mart, where it’s $1.74/4 pk. I’ve seen it priced at $5/4 pk at Hobby Lobby. Insane.

You could just make your own Play-Doh. Check out these recipes:


3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup salt

3/4 to 1 cup water with preferred color food coloring

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients. Knead until smooth consistency. Keep it covered and in refrigerator when not using it.


1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 cup water with preferred color food coloring

1 tablespoon oil

Mix all ingredients. Cook over medium hear until forms into a ball and becomes “translucent”, not “milky”. Knead dough. Store in plastic covered bowl in refrigerator when not using it.

I remember my mom making the uncooked play-doh when I was a little kid. I’m sure I ingested quite a bit of it. I know for a fact that my younger sisters did, since I watched them munch on it. We all turned out OK.

I’m surprised that the recommendation on the box says two, I thought it was probably going to be 4 or 5. I was thinking of unsupervised play, though.

FTR, the uncooked playdough recipe isn’t good for kids with sensitive skin, especially in the winter if the skin on backs of their fingers crack and split; I’m not sure if it’s an issue with kids who don’t have that delicate skin many redheads have, but it’s been a problem for my brother and me since preschool. Salt playdough on winter-dry skin burns like the dickens after just a few minutes. The store-bought version doesn’t seem to have as much salt or as much ouch in it, maybe because it’s not nearly as sticky.

I’d just try it and see - after all, as long as you keep it sealed up, it’s not going to go bad. So if she tries to eat it, you can take it away and try again until she stops trying. At some point, it might be a fabulous table toy for dinner or lunch out. We’ve been carrying around the same little pot of green playdoh for about six months now (we should probably replace it by now) - our son loves it and it allows us to eat a sit-down meal without getting up and down to calm down an antsy kid.

Thank you for all the good responses.

kalhoun Maybe.

cher3 I definitely wouldn’t leave her alone with it.

Uncle Rojelio We don’t have carpets, hardwood floors. :wink:

spoike She’ll generally stop eating things when I tell her not to. Just at this moment she started to pick her noodles up off the table. I told her to put the plate back down and she did. She doesn’t have a gluten allergy. She’s eating wheat noodles right now.

fessie Target is the only store nearby where I’d know where to look for it, so that makes it easy. There are no Wal Marts in New York City.

Scribble Thanks for the recipe.

elfkin477 She’s a strawberry blonde but I haven’t noticed any problem with dry skin. My wife has skin problems, also a strawberry blonde. I had light blonde hair as a kid, but never had much in terms of dry skin problems.

overlyverbose She’s quite good at dinner out. We took her out when she was only about a month old. NYC has a major restaurant culture so she’s been acclimated to it as long as she’s been with us really. However, that is a fabulous suggestion for the times when she isn’t being good, like between ordering and the food being delivered.

She’s a fabulous eater, we don’t have to try and get her to eat, she has a complex palate and loves lots of foods, particularly savory things like Olives and Cheese. So it’s entirely possible that she might just love play-doh.

My mom used to make peanut butter playdough for us when we were kids. It functions just like Play Doh, but it’s meant to be eaten (assuming you don’t have peanut or lactose allergies);

1 c. peanut butter
2/3-1 c. nonfat dry milk
2 tbsp. honey

Mix ingredients. Add enough powdered milk to make playdough dry enough to handle.