Since molding play dough feasts is one of my daughter’s favorite indoor activities, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with different homemade versions. This recipe, from playdoughrecipe.org, is by far the best I’ve found. It has a smooth, lump-free texture, doesn't dye your hands, and is made with simple, on-hand ingredients. I love homemade play dough because it tends to last longer, you can customize the aroma and color, and it is significantly cheaper than its manufactured counterpart.
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
In a medium bowl, add the first three ingredients. Measure out water and combine oil, vanilla, and food coloring in the cup. (Use as much or a little food coloring as you like. I used 5 drops.) Pour liquids into flour mixture and stir with a fork until mixture is smooth and combined.
Add mixture to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until soft dough forms and balls up. Remove from heat and cool. Knead periodically to encourage the cooling process. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.