Play-Doh comes in a rainbow of colors and is inexpensive to buy. Since it was first marketed to kids, Play-Doh has enjoyed immense popularity.
Play-Doh has an interesting history. The compound was originally created in the 1930s and was marketed as a wallpaper cleaner. The semi-tacky surface of play dough easily removed dirt, dust and grease from wallpaper without leaving any residue behind. The original recipe used flour, water, salt, boric acid and mineral oil. However, children soon got hold of the cleaning mixture and began using it for imaginative play. Parents liked that it was non-messy, inexpensive and fun for kids. The makers of Play-Doh realized the potential, added color and began selling to children. By the mid-1950s, Play-Doh found its way into the Cincinnati school system and was being used as an educational toy.
Play-Doh has an interesting market niche. It’s nostalgic, but modern. It’s collectible, yet disposable. For less than a buck you can get a tub of the colorful compound and create anything you can imagine. There are play sets that go with Play-Doh so you can create ice cream or hair or just about anything else you can think of. The people that collect Play-Doh (as strange as they may seem), will pay a lot of money on auction sites like eBay for the original accessory sets or even some of the more modern limited edition sets.
Regardless of how you classify Play-Doh in terms of modern or nostalgic or anything in between, the doughy mixture remains one of the most popular toys in the world. Not only is it a toy that parents buy for their kids, it’s also a toy that schools buy by the ton. Play-Doh can be used to foster imaginative play or to teach lessons about everything from fractions to fine art. Play-Doh is obviously non-electric, but more impressively, so are the play sets that go along with it. For parents that try and force their kids to unplug from time to time, Play-Doh is a top contender in the toy aisle.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Almost every kid knows the crushing heartbreak of opening a tub of Play-Doh that wasn’t quite sealed right and finding a dry brick of crushed dreams. You see, if Play-Doh isn’t sealed perfectly, it quickly dries out and becomes an unusable (and quite sharp) mass of color. For parents, it’s wise to keep a couple backup tubs of it handy for such an emergency.
Because Play-Doh is so cheap to buy and so much fun to play with for kids of all ages, it’s likely that it will continue to be one of the top selling toys of all time. Kids growing up today will likely look back and tell their own kids about how they used to shape the dough into fake hamburgers, loch ness monsters and more. It’s remarkable to think that what was once a wallpaper cleaner has become such an iconic part of childhood.