Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by laura. laura Wonders, “Who made Playdough?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, laura!

Have you ever used playdough? It can be so much fun! It comes in so many different colors and can turn into anything you imagine. Kids turn playdough into snakes, flowers, houses… anything! Have you ever WONDERed made play dough?

Play dough was actually invented by accident. In the 1930s, Noah McVicker worked for his family’s soap company. It was called Kutol Products. There, he made a new kind of wallpaper cleaner. It looked like putty and was made of flour, water, salt, and many other ingredients.

McVicker’s cleaner was excellent for wallpaper. It didn’t contain any toxic chemicals. It could also be reused. Better yet, it didn’t stain the wallpaper. However, he had no idea that it had another use.

Teachers found a way to use the wallpaper cleaner at school. They realized it was great for making art and craft projects. In fact, it worked as a modeling compound much like clay. Students could shape the soft material with their hands. Then, they could turn it into something else or let it dry!

Years later, Noah McVicker’s nephew, Joseph McVicker, joined the company. He’s the one who learned that teachers were using the wallpaper cleaner for arts and crafts. Joseph suggested giving the product a new name — Play-Doh®. Then, he marketed it to schools and department stores.

The new product was a huge success. In 1956, the McVickers started the Rainbow Crafts Company to make and sell Play-Doh. The new company also started advertising the product on popular children’s television shows, such as Captain Kangaroo. Within a year, its sales had reached almost $3 million!

What’s in Play-Doh? The recipe is a secret. However, we know Play-Doh® is non-toxic, easy to use, and simple to clean up. That makes it a very popular modeling compound for use in schools.

Today, Play-Doh is owned by a company named Hasbro. It makes and sells the product through its Playskool line. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association added Play-Doh to its “Century of Toys List.” This contains the 100 most memorable and creative toys of the last 100 years.

Play-Doh comes in many bright and bold colors. There are also many toys that make use of Play-Doh®. Since its invention, people around the world have bought over 700 million pounds of Play-Doh!

Do you use Play-Doh at school? How about at home? Have you ever used it to clean wallpaper? Just kidding!  Play-Doh® is a great tool for young sculptors today. What‘s your favorite thing to make out of the material?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Wake up! Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is afoot. Don’t let it get away!