We made play dough a week ago, and then played with it again yesterday, twice. The recipie I used is awesome, the play dough balls are slightly rubbery, and smooth and squishy, it's the one from "Better Basics for the Home". I think the secret is the 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar (out of 3 cups finished dough). Takes some serious arm strength to make though, but given how well it came out I can't see ever paying someone for a lump of suspicious plastic dough. The balls even bounce!
The impetus was buying a tub of playdough molds for a dollar at a garage sale. More plastic toys, oh well. The important thing is that Rebecca has a lot of fun learning to cut up lumps of dough with the plastic knife.