Playdough is a source of endless entertainment for learners young and old. There are countless fun playdough activities that help kids with their fine motor skills and help them unlock their creativity. Hands-on sensory play dough activities are also a great resource for little hands to get used to a variety of textures and shapes. So, find your favorite playdough recipe, mix up a batch, and get crafty with these hands-on playdough learning activities!
1. Color Mixing
The magic of playdough is undeniable when teaching little ones about mixing colors. Let them mix primary-colored playdough together to create fantastic new colors and see the magic happen before their eyes while developing color matching skills.
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2. Beginner Writing
Before kids start to write, they can use play-doh to shape letters and get comfortable with the wonderful world of literacy with this fine motor alphabet playdough activity. Print out a collection of letters and numbers and laminate the cards to use them over and over as dough mats.
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3. Leafy Learning Tray
Let kids roll out some clay with a rolling pin and make leafy imprints in the clay from natural materials. They can get creative and make a range of patterns or try to cut around the edges of the leaf to make clay replicas. This is a great activity to promote fine motor skills and foster a keen interest in nature.
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4. Playdough Snails
There are countless animal-themed playdough activities for children but you can take them to the next level by adding some shells into the mix. Kids can create these fun "mixed medium" critters when learning about all the interesting creepy crawlies in the garden and in nature.
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5. Ladybug Addition
This fun bug play dough activity gives kids a range of sensory experiences as they place buttons in the clay and count them as they go. Roll some dice to see how many buttons should go on the bug's back and see if kids can add the two numbers together and work on their counting skills.
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6. Improve Cutting Skills
Cutting with scissors is one of the most important fine motor skills that kids can develop but the use of paper for practice can get messy and wasteful. Let kids cut into clay for a mess-free medium that can be used an infinite amount of times.
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7. Play Dough Puzzles
Young learners will love solving play dough puzzles that keep changing. Make indents with common household items or cookie cutters as DIY playdough stamps and let kids match the print to the object. See if they can do it blindfolded for an extra difficult activity with playdough.
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8. Create a Solar System
Creating a play-doh solar system can be fun for young and old. Use some black clay and marbles to represent stars and planets. Kids can also draw the orbits in the clay and show kids how different planets move around the sun.
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9. Clay Kebabs
A couple of metal skewers are the perfect tools to practice fine motor skills by threading round pieces of clay. Kids can create food replicas, skewer a pattern from balls of playdough, or just be creative and see where the playdough takes them.
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10. Play Dough Portraits
A blob of playdough can be turned into a ton of funny faces with these printable face outlines. Use it to teach kids about emotion or let them express their own emotions through the clay. Emotional literacy is a tough and abstract concept to teach so making it more tangible can help them greatly.
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11. Lego Learning
It is one thing to just use letter shapes to print in playdough, but using Lego to spell out words or create math equations forces kids to think a little more abstract.
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12. Create Shapes
Once kids have mastered basic shapes, it is time to level up and dive into 3D shapes. Use balls of playdough and popsicle sticks to build these larger shapes and let kids get creative and make their own shapes.
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13. Make a Monster
Let their creative juices flow by letting kids make their own dough monster with colorful Play-Doh, googly eyes, and some pipe cleaners. Do this as an extension activity after reading a fun Monster book or let kids create their own show-and-tell story with their monster creations.
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14. Make a Meal
This classic playdough activity is the perfect addition to a lesson about food or food groups. Let kids build a balanced meal from their dough and place it on these adorable printable mats.
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15. Skeleton Activity
This fantastic STEM idea is perfect for a lesson about the human body, especially when talking about the skeleton. Use toothpicks as an internal structure for a playdough human figure and build one without a "skeleton". Use them to illustrate the difference between a person with and without bones.
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16. Connect 4
17. Fine Motor Practice
Playdough works wonders for fine motor development and this activity makes use of basic items you probably have around the house or classroom. Let kids drop pasta into the straws that are held up by the clay to learn a lesson in patience and concentration. If you have colored pasta, you can also try pattern matching for some extra fun during toddler playtime.
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18. Play-Doh Fossils
19. Play-Doh Plants
Mold some green playdough into the shape of a cactus and plant it in its very own little pot. Toothpicks make perfect thorns or you can opt for pipe cleaners if you are wary of sharp points around tiny hands. These plants are so adorable you might not want to break them apart!
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20. Learn Fractions
21. Learn Dental Hygiene
Shove some dough in large building blocks to help kids learn a valuable lesson about dental hygiene. This setup lets kids use floss to wiggle into hard-to-reach crevices that simulate their own mouths.
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22. Create the Earth
This is a super fun activity to add to any earth science lesson about the layers of the earth. Let kids layer playdough over each other and then slice their globe in half to see a cross-section of the planet.
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23. Create a Cell Structure
Playdough isn't only for kids to play with. Older learners can use this versatile substance to illustrate something more intricate like the structure of a cell.
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24. Apple Stacking
Let the little ones create balls of dough of varying sizes and add a little stick to the top to create apples. They should then sort the apples from largest to smallest and stack them on top of each other to create an apple tower.
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25. Playdough Animal Mats
Using dough mats is a great exercise to work on a child's motor skills as they carefully place the clay on the card. They must also use their sense of touch to determine if their playdough snakes are of uniform thickness to fit onto the cards.
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