Small World Playdough Play for Kids

Small World Playdough Play for Kids -- What a fun way to incorporate playdough into a pretend play for children!

We gave some small world playdough play a whirl recently in between snow play sessions outside. While we often use playdough for modeling, creating, and just as a great sensory experience, the kids also use it for pretend play. This most often means they make food out of the playdough for tea parties, cupcake stores, or living room picnics, but this time they incorporated figurines for some small world play.

Playdough Play for Kids

It started off fairly simply, with a few princess figurines, a few little animals, a couple sets of wooden snowmen and trees (from Mama May i), some snow (polyfill stuffing that came with the snowmen), and some wood craft sticks.

Small World Pretend Play for Kids

The snowmen and trees were placed on the edge of a frozen pond (a a blue art mat) with a fawn looking on.

Small World Playdough Play for Kids with Figurines

The kids used the playdough as bases for the trees and figurines, as hills and other land forms, as houses, and more.

Small World Playdough Play for Kids

I love how the playdough was seamlessly incorporated into their small world play, adding a new level of creative play to the entire experience.

Small World Playdough Play for Kids

The playdough also provided a base for what was first a house built out of the wood craft sticks, then a teepee.

Have your kids incorporated figurines and such into their playdough play? If not, you might want to try setting out some animal and people figurines, matchbox cars, etc out with some playdough and a few open-ended add ins (polyfill “snow,” wood craft sticks, pipe cleaners, toothpicks) and see what they come up with.

We used our favorite homemade playdough recipe, but you could use any playdough, homemade or commercial, of course.

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Homemade Candy Cane Playdough

Candy Cane Playdough Gift in a Jar & a Homemade Playdough Recipe

Maia and I made homemade candy cane playdough this past weekend. I'm always trying to think of gifts that Maia can participate in making and this one fits all my criteria perfectly: it's easy and fun to make, inexpensive, and once given, encourages creative play.

As usual we used MaryAnn Kohl's recipe for play clay from First Art. I always plan to try new recipes, but love this one so much, I never do.

Homemade Playdough Recipe


  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups salt
  • 3 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 10 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Food coloring


Mix water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring regularly until mixture is hot. Add oil. Stir in flour a cup at a time, stirring in between each addition. Mix until playdough pulls away from pan and is no longer sticky (pinch it between your fingers to test). Dump dough on counter, let cool a bit, then knead.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Add Glitz and Glamour to Your Homemade Playdough

To make the candy cane playdough, we made two batches of the play clay, one red and one white. After the dough cooled down a bit, we kneaded in some glitter for holiday glitziness and some peppermint essential oil (about 10 drops each batch) for the yummy candy cane smell.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Help Your Playdough do the Candy Cane Twist

Next we gathered our playdough (cut up into individual portions – I think we divided each batch into 12 or so) and our packaging materials (pint canning jars, holiday fabric squares, yarn, color copies of Maia's Christmas "cards", and some labels I made in Word).

Homemade Playdough Recipe

We rolled the playdough into snakes…

Homemade Playdough Recipe

then twisted one red and one white one together like a candy cane.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Each playdough twist was put into a jar and we added the fabric, lids, and labels.

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Et voila! Candy cane playdough. Gifts Maia helped make that she can give to her friends.