play dough creative ideas
April 19, 2023

Playdough Ideas for Toddlers

Everyone must have heard what playdough is, right? Especially for children and toddlers, this modeling compound is used in arts and crafts projects they make at home and in school. Did you know that Play-Doh, one of the biggest playdough companies, was invented and manufactured as a wallpaper cleaning putty in the 1930s? A grocery store wanted a substance that could easily clean the soot on the wall that came from the coals.

When there was no longer a need for coals due to natural gas-based heating and the demand for wallpaper cleaner putties plummeted, the company took a turn and reworked the product to turn it into a child’s toy in the 1950s. Since then, Play-Doh has always been around for decades. Between 1955 and 2005, over two billion cans of Play-Doh were sold.

Things to Make with Playdough

There’s something magical about playdough that makes children play with it for hours! There are many things that you can do with playdough. Playing with it is not just fun; it also improves the fine motor skills of your toddler. Playdough can be turned into anything. Here are some ideas and games that you can do with your toddler using the fun playdough!

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How to Play with Playdough

There is no right or wrong way to play with playdough! It’s children’s favorite and parents can also enjoy a nice play with them. It is non-toxic and can be used again and again. You can shape them, turn them into anything you want, pretend bake with them, and more.

Although there is no single way to play with playdough, the best place is to have your child sit at a table to have a good work surface. This way, you can also keep the mess under control. First, let them experiment with the playdough. You can also show some techniques, like rolling or flatting the play tough. Also, don’t forget to talk to them about how playdough feels, and remind them this isn’t something to eat (no matter how edible they look or even though they are non-toxic).

what to do with play doh

In addition to the endless fun, playdough comes with an abundance of benefits for your child’s development and well-being. One of the benefits is that it develops fine motor skills as kids mold the playdough into different shapes. Their hands and fingers get stronger while they roll or flatten or even squish the playdough. These actions develop the muscles in their hands which they will be using in the future for holding pens.

In addition to developing fine motor skills, playdough also encourages children to express their creativity through these fun, colorful, squishy material. They will be able to create items from their imagination. The more they play with it, the wider their imagination will become. Also, playdough will act as a stress ball for your child and help them calm down and let their steam off.

Playdough Games for Kids

Turning playdough into mini teaching games will have your kid learning and having fun simultaneously. Here are some examples:

Make the Clock, Tell the Time

Primary school kids are especially excited to tell the time, so this is an excellent game for them to play with playdough! Have your kid roll a long, thin line, like a snake. Then, turn this into a big circle. Here, the child will start to make the components of the clock. Help them shape and mold the numbers from one to 12. Don’t forget to make two hands for the clock hands, one big and one small! Once you are done with your clock, play the game of telling time.

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Pictionary But with Playdough!

This would be an amazing party game for your kid and their friends! In this game, you will need to write down on small pieces of paper the names of simple items that can be made out of playdough, and put these papers into a bowl. Divide the kids into two teams and select a team to go first. This is how the game will go: The first player from the first team will draw a paper from the bowl. They will have 1 minute to use the playdough to get their teammates to guess what the paper says. No talking or acting! If they can guess, they get the point. If they can’t guess, then the other team gets a chance to try to get the point! This keeps going until everyone has had a chance to be the one with the playdough. The team with the most points wins!

Playdough Sets for Toddlers

There are various sets that are sold with playdoughs for your child to mix and match and make fabulous creations. Some of these sets come with a little table, tools to cut and shape the playdough, and even cookie-cutter-type molds to make indented shapes.

Things you can build with play doh

If you are not able to purchase them, that’s okay because you can also use everyday items you may have lying around at home to act as these tools. Just make sure that if you are using kitchen utensils, you use them only with the playdough and not for eating purposes again.

Fun Playdough Activities

Here are a couple of fun playdough activities that you can try out with your kiddo!

Playdough Volcano!

This will be an amazing science experiment mixed with playdough! In this activity, you will provide the child with playdough and a paper cup to build their own volcano. Tell them to make their volcano around the cup. Also, if you would like this to be an easy cleanup, have your child build this volcano on a thick, plastic plate to dispose of it easily.

The cup is to mix the volcano mixture. You can also pull up pictures of volcanoes to give them a little inspiration. When they are done with their volcano, put two tablespoons of baking soda inside the whole, meaning the cup. In another plastic cup, mix around ¼ cup of vinegar and a couple of drops of red food coloring. You can also let your kid select another color like yellow or purple! Have your child pour the vinegar mixture into their volcano when you are all ready and watch the eruption happen!

Playdough Galaxy

This simple activity will teach your child science, and it is amusing! You will have your child make the planets with playdough. Pull up references of planets for your child to look at and make their own. In addition to various colored playdough, you may also need some additional material to make the ring around Saturn. You can make this out of a bracelet or beads and jewelry wire.


This article is examined by Clinical Child Psychologist and Ph. D. Researcher Kevser Çakmak, and produced by Otsimo Editorial Team.

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