National Play-Doh Day

National Play-Doh Day on September 16th recognizes a child’s modeling clay. However, before it found its way to the craft shelf, Play-Doh had more practical uses. 

Play-Doh inventor, Joe McVicker of Cincinnati, Ohio, sold it initially as a wallpaper cleaner. When his father died in 1949, his mother promptly hired him and his brother-in-law to help with the family business, Kutol Products Company. Right about that time, oil furnaces began replacing coal-burning furnaces. It wasn’t long before the wallpaper cleaner sales dwindled. 

In 1955, McVicker began testing the cleaner as a modeling clay in classrooms and daycares for students. Seeing the product worked, he named it Play-Doh and he went into business with his uncle under the name of the Rainbow Crafts Company, Inc. a year later. To protect their new product, McVicker filed for a patent in 1958. However, the patent wasn’t approved until January 26, 1965. By then, General Mills had purchased the company.

At first Rainbow Crafts Company offered only one color – white. But soon, red, blue, and yellow followed. The company sold them by the gallon. Once again, they modified their offerings and 11-ounce sizes were offered.

Around the same time, McVicker was testing Play-Doh, a new children’s television show began broadcasting on CBS. Bob Keeshan played the role of Captain Kangaroo. While Play-Doh’s sales were nice, they weren’t spectacular. McVicker had an idea. He asked Captain Kangaroo to promote his modeling clay on his show. The children’s television show host agreed and the children’s iconic modeling clay took off!

In 1998, the Toy Hall of Fame inducted Play-Doh into its hallowed halls. 


This is a cooked playdough recipe.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • Koolaid packs (1 per batch)

STEP 1:   Add the flour, salt, and cream of tartar, and one Koolaid packet to a medium mixing bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

STEP 2:  Add the water and vegetable oil to a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling and then remove from the stovetop. You can also add additional food coloring as desired.

STEP 3:  Add the flour mixture to the hot water and stir continuously until a stiff ball of dough forms. Remove the dough from the pan and place it on your work center. Allow the playdough mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

STEP 4: Knead the dough until it is soft and pliable (about 3-4 minutes). 


Keep your kool aid playdough stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Resealable plastic containers work well and are easy for little hands to open. You can also use zip-top bags.

Wash hands before using playdough to keep it as clean as possible and it will last longer!

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