2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup waterfood coloring (optional)
Combine flour and salt. Add oil and enough water for a clay-like consistency. Add water a little at a time until the mixture is pliable but not too sticky. Mix and knead slightly. (To color the play dough, add food coloring to the water before adding to the flour and salt.)
Make the play dough at home before you want to use it in the nursery, and store it in an airtight container, if possible. Bring paper (waxed paper works especially well) to spread on the tables where the children will be using the play dough.