Give That Old Play-Doh Kit a Brand New Feeling

Give That Old Play-Doh Kit a Brand New Feeling

Many years ago the girls’ grandma gave them a really cool Play-Doh kit that connected to an app on their iPad. Ada loved it right away while Zoey had to grow into it a bit. I noticed over time their play decreased as the Play-Doh in the kit got older and more mixed together. We soon started pulling out our regular playdough whenever the girls’ played with the kit but often that playdough was also mixed up and resulted in only one hue to use. A couple years ago, before their grandma came for a visit, I decided to revitalize their Play-Doh kit using our favorite playdough recipe and the original Play-Doh containers. A little bit of work and sensory play that one day made the kit feel brand new and I’m so glad we did it.

Image to pin this post to Pinterest. The top has the blog title, the bottom has my main URL, and the middle shows a collage of seven images, shown below, showing the process we took to clean the containers, make playdough, and refill the containers.

Quick note: I wanted to mention that we haven’t played with this kit recently so I don’t know if the app is still available or even how it’s performing. The website for the Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio product currently, on February 26th in 2021, says it’s “Available at least through 6/30/18” so I’m not sure how much support it has or if it’s even available. I wanted to still share this idea with you in case you have an older kit, of any type or shape, that you’d want to revitalize in a similar manner.

Years ago, back before Zoey was old enough to truly use it, we received an amazing Play-Doh kit, Touch Shape to Life Studio, from the girls’ grandma that connected to an app on their iPad. Since the kit required use of their shared iPad, as they needed to scan the playdough creations into the app, I ended up storing it separate from their main Play-Doh toys and homemade playdough. As it was out of sight we didn’t use it all the time but every time that we did use it they had an absolute blast. As the Play-Doh that came with it got older we started using our homemade playdough instead and saved the emptied Play-Doh containers as a fun playdough toy. Even then I could tell the kids preferred the kit whenever we had more colors of playdough to chose from. This made me realize, as another fun visit with their grandma approached, that I should clean out their Play-Doh containers, make a fresh multi-colored batch, and thus revitalize the kit so they could have hours of fun playing it with their grandma. I waited until Zoey went down for a nap and then Ada and I got to work, or fun sensory play for Ada, making this happen. I think we ended up taking longer than Zoey’s nap and continued it once she got up but I can’t remember for sure so I’m not quite sure exactly how long it took us to do this. That said it was a fun bonding activity with Ada and gave us hours of new fun with the kit so I’m really glad I thought to do it.

Before starting I had spent a bit of time going through the girls’ playdough and finding every Play-Doh container we had saved. I matched up each container with a lid, then made sure we had the right number for the kit, dumped the playdough out that was in them, and set them aside. Any of the extra containers and lids went back into the girls’ playdough area for future play. With that done I waited for Zoey to go down for a nap then grabbed a large plastic container and washcloth, filled the container with water and dish soap for Ada, and got her started cleaning out each Play-Doh container and lid. This helped me out and gave her a fun sensory activity to do while I made the playdough by myself.

Ada on her knees on a chair leaned over a bin of soapy water cleaning the containers.
I used the cleaning of the Play-Doh containers as a sensory bin to keep Ada occupied while I made the playdough and get them mostly cleaned. I have her a pipe cleaner, or chenille stem, to help get into all of the grooves on the lids.

I can’t remember if I only made a single or a double batch of my recipe but I do know that I made it without any added food dye or flavor extracts for scents. Once the playdough came together I broke it up into equal pieces so I’d have a portion of playdough for each container I needed to refill. I then rolled out each piece into a ball and poked a hole in the top so I could easily drop the food dye in. I own all three primary colors of water-based food dye in large bottles so I started out by dropping red into one ball of playdough, blue into another, and finally yellow into a third ball. This meant that there were four remaining balls of playdough so I decided to make three of them the secondary colors by adding equal amounts of two primary colors to each. This gave me green (yellow and blue), orange (yellow and red), and purple (red and blue). I then left the last ball untouched so the kids could work with white too. Once all the playdough had the proper food dye added I took them one by one, closed in the hole, and used a spatula and then my hands to repeatedly squish and knead the playdough together so the dye was fully mixed in. I chose to use the spatula first so I could break up the food dye chunks before touching the playdough and thus had less chance of badly dying my hands. If the color wasn’t dark enough, after kneading it together, I’d create another divot in the top and drop some more dye in before repeating this process. Once I was happy with the hue I’d set it aside and start the same mixing process on the next playdough mound.

A quick aside in case you do get food dye on your hands. I once got a lot on my hands and soap and water didn’t seem to do much. I looked online and ended up getting most of it off using toothpaste as if it was soap. In case you want other solutions I quickly looked again and found this wikiHow post that mentions four different methods to clean off food dye along with this Spoon University one that tells you how to do it “in 5 Steps”.

Image shows a blue bowl with a white inside. It's filled with white powder and off white liquid (flour, canola oil, cream of tartar). Off to the side is the purple lidded flour container. In the back is a bin of water, two Play-Doh containers drying on a purple towel, and several colorful lids and a pink pipe cleaner waiting to be cleaned.
As Ada washed out the Play-Doh containers I started in on my favorite playdough recipe.
Image shows six mounds of white playdough with divots in the center. They each have different drops of red, blue, or yellow food dye in the center. The large bottles sit in the back beside a scattering of white flour and a splotched paper towel.
After making and separating the white playdough into seven equal portions, as we needed to refill seven Play-Doh containers, I balled each portion and pressed a hole in the center so I could drip food dye in. I used a variety of drops from the three primary colored water-based food dyes to end up with all three primary colors, all three secondary colors, and a white.
Image shows three different balls of playdough in different states on a flour, white powder, coated table. The front one is fully one shade of pink, the center one is still white but slightly misshapen with drops of blue and red on it (for purple), the back ball is more nest shape and blurred with yellow dye in the center.
This image shows the process better as the back ball has yellow dye in the divot at it’s top, while the center ball has been pressed closed with some red and blue dye squishing out from the center. The front pink object is all mixed together and rounded into a ball.

By the time all the playdough was made Ada had mostly cleaned all the Play-Doh containers but she had trouble fully cleaning the lids. I grabbed the pipe cleaner, also called a chenille stem, I gave her earlier and used it to scrape out the dried Play-Doh around the groove. As I finished each lid I gave it back to Ada so she could continue washing it as I scrape out the next lid. Once we finished cleaning all the containers and lids we used a dish towel to dry them out and started filling the containers. I quickly realized the colors didn’t perfectly match each lid so we paused and I had Ada match up each colored ball of playdough with which lid she wanted it to go with. Once she had finished deciding we continued filling the containers with each color and any excess playdough, that didn’t fit, was rolled up and placed in a freezer bag to go in the kids main playdough area. Once all the containers were fully filled and the lids pressed on securely they were put back in the Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio box and set aside for when grandma came. I was so excited for the kids to play with the kit as they now have such a diverse amount of colors available to work with again. Finally Ada and Zoey were released to play with their new playdough, the extra balls, and all the other playdough toys.

Image shows a closeup of the pink pipe cleaner pushing the Play-Doh gunk out of the lid's grooves.
The metal in the pipe cleaner was string enough to get into the grooves while the fuzzy bits did well cleaning up most of what remained.
Image shows Ada washing a yellow Play-Doh lid with a white washcloth as a bin of soapy water and some soapy lids on a purple towel sit behind her. Beside that is a lidded red Play-Doh container, several empty and dried containers, and one container filled with orange playdough. Beside this sits several large balls of playdough and behind that a freezer bag with a smaller ball of pink and orange lay the remnants of the containers.
Ada was finishing washing up her emptied Play-Doh containers while I started filling up the ones that we had already dried.
Image shows Ada placing a black lid on the yellow mound of playdough. The green, purple, and white beside it match up. You can see the first colors filled behind and their excess amounts in a clear bag beside it.
I quickly realized some of the lids didn’t match the colors I made so I stopped filling the Play-Doh containers and instead had Ada choose which lid should go with each color. Once she had paired them all up I waited for a second in case she changed her mind and then we started filling them back up again.
Image shows a clear freezer bag filled with seven different balls of playdough. Behind it sits the seven containers of Play-Doh filled with fresh playdough.
We ended up with a fair amount of each color and the small Play-Doh containers didn’t hold a lot. This meant we also had a freezer bag filled with all the excess playdough that didn’t fit in the containers. The kids played with this playdough and all their other tools after we put the rest away.
Image shows a cardboard box filled with seven containers of playdough, a white base, and several Play-Doh moulds and cutters.
After filling up all the containers we returned them all to the kit so the next time we played with it it would feel brand new.
Image shows the kitchen table spread out with plastic dinosaurs and the Play-Doh kit. The iPad shows the playdough creation just as well as the old Play-Doh one.
Later, after grandma arrived, the kids had a blast playing with their new-feeling kit and even brought in some other toys to join in with the fun.

I am so glad we refilled the Play-Doh containers with my homemade playdough as the kids had a blast playing with the kit again. This is making me wonder where the kit has disappeared to and whether the app still works well enough for them to use it. Now that they’re older I would love to see what playdough creations they can load up in the app and interact with.

Anyway do you have a Play-Doh kit that would be revitalized with a new batch of playdough in it? Let me know if you take this idea to make your kits new. I’d love to hear how it went so feel free to share in the comments below. I hope your week is going great.

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