When my daughter attended preschool way back in the day (she is now 13), I fell in love with the play dough she used at school. I admired the texture so much more than the store-bought play dough. This recipe is a well-loved winner. Here are some ways to incorporate learning for your children into this process.
You can easily have your children help find the materials in the pantry. Talk about the different shapes of the containers in your pantry items or the types of materials that hold the items (paper bags, plastic cylinders, etc.). Look for words and letters on these containers and talk about the sounds that those letters make and words contain ("'f', yes, that's the first sound in 'flour.'").
Set the stage by selecting appropriate measuring tools. Learning words like teaspoon, tablespoon, and cups are all ways to talk about volume. Use comparative words like big, little, smallest, and largest.
When discussing ingredients, ask your children to describe how the ingredients feel. Consider pouring a small amount of each into a bowl and have them use their five senses (see, smell, taste, touch, hearing) to tell you about each one. Ask them what they notice. If you're feeling brave and have extra on hand, let them try mixing different amounts of the items on their own and then talk to them about their observations.
Let your children help you read the recipe. Teach them the abbreviations for teaspoon (t or tsp) and tablespoon (T or Tbs), cups (c), etc.
Talk about the order of the recipe using words like first, second, third, next, and last.
Safety first! Don't forget to talk about using the stove since this recipe involves cooking the dough.
Finally, after completing the recipe, have fun creating! Encourage imagination. Incorporate the use of tools like scissors (yes, you can cut play dough!), butter knives, cookie cutters, and more. Talk about what you are doing and consider sharing pictures of your creations with your teachers and friends.
Finally, a recipe note. After doing some research, if you don't have cream of tartar on hand, you might be able to substitute wit 2 teaspoons of lemon juice OR vinegar. Be aware, though, that this may affect the consistency of the play dough (I have yet to try it out myself).