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Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Playdough and Clay

Playdough Activities for Kids with Fun Ideas to Play & Learn


Looking for some fun playdough activities for kids? Here are lots of ideas to build, create, learn and play with playdough for kids of all ages.

Kids decorating dinosaurs with playdough and gems.

Updated March 2021

What to make with playdough? There’s so much potential in humble playdough and it is a consistent art material that my kids are drawn to over and over again.

Maybe you’d like some fun ideas to invite your kids to explore play with playdough. Here’s a list of playdough activities for toddlers and preschoolers to build, play and learn with playdough.


Playdough Activities for Kids

Check out this video full of creative playdough play ideas, and then keep scrolling for even more fun ideas. And don’t miss The Artful Parent go-to homemade playdough recipes for both cooked and no cook playdough.

8 Playdough Activities for Toddlers

Lion figurine decorated with playdough and other items – Redviolet Studio

1. Playdough dress up (from Redviolet Studio)

How fun is this idea from Catalina? Gather up some plastic animals and kids can give them a whole new look!

2. Playdough poke-ins

Poke in toothpicks to make all kinds of prickly creatures. Try straws, pipe cleaners, marker caps, googly eyes––all are fun to press in for kids.

3. Rolling snakes is fun but how about these adorable snails? (from Mother Natured)

4. Stamp playdough (from Little Mainer Art Studio)

Pressing things into playdough is fun for kids to see the impression left behind. These wooden stamps leave fun designs behind, but anything works!

5. Playdough sculptures + loose parts (from Redviolet Studio)

6. Learn to use scissors with this playdough activity for toddlers (from Modern Preschool)

7. Pretend play animal setup (from Redviolet Studio)

Use the lid of a big or small plastic container to press playdough into and create a pretend play setup for toddlers. Bring out some plastic animals and loose parts like corks, popsicle sticks and straws to add to the fun.

8. Make playdough monsters

This is a great playdough activity for all ages and you can certainly vary the loose parts offered depending on your child. Some fun options include: googly eyes, toothpicks, beads, pipe cleaners, cut straws and popsicle sticks.

Playdough pictures with LEGOS - Little Mainer Studio

9 Preschool Playdough Activities

1. Make a tabletop forest ecosystem

2. Open a bakery! (from Little Mainer Art Studio)

Set out muffin tins, rolling pins, cookie cutters, pony beads/sequins & candles. Kids love taking your order and whipping up playdough cupcakes, brownies, cookies and the like!

3. Create an adorable cactus garden (from Redviolet Studio)

4. Play chef (from Creation Space)

5. Build playdough volcanoes and make it erupt with a baking soda & vinegar science experiment!

6. Create 3D playdough faces

7. Create pictures in playdough with LEGO prints

8. Make playdough pizza (from Nurture Store)

9. Build playdough towers with pasta (from Redviolet Studio)

Child pressing resin letters in to playdough for literacy building activity – Little Mainer Studio

8 Playdough Activities for Kindergartners

1. Write messages in playdough (from Little Mainer Art Studio)

2. And another fun alphabet stamping option (from Kindergarten Works)

3. Create pictures with playdough on a tray (from CreationSpace)

4. Write Letters With Playdough (from No Time For Flash Cards)

5. Explore the layers of our planet with colorful Earth balls.

6. Build spaghetti towers by stringing beads on dried spaghetti (from Glitter on a Dime)

7. Explore color mixing with playdough (from At the Butterfly Ball)

8. Mix your own natural dyes into playdough (from The Imagination Tree)

Make and play with petal playdough–a great nature based art idea for toddlers

5 Ideas for Homemade Playdough

1. Add in a beautiful nature element with petal playdough!

2. Build structures using playdough and sticks (from Fireflies and Mud Pies)

3. Whip up a batch of edible peanut butter playdough

4. Make your playdough glow with this recipe (from TinkerLab)

5. Make galaxy playdough (from Redviolet Studio)


4 Playdough Gift Ideas

Kids love playdough for gifts and it’s so fun to create playdough kits by season, holiday or based on your child’s interest.

1. Snowman in Mason jar snow globe.

2. Candy Cane playdough for Christmas!

3. Make a rainbow playdough kit (from the Kindergarten Connection)

4. Playdough party favors (from eighteen25)

Toddler Art Activities - Playdough & Animal Exploration from RedViolet Studio

More Playdough Activities for Kids

Do you have any great playdough ideas for kids to add—either your own or ideas you’ve seen elsewhere? If so, please include them in the comments!

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Playdough Activities for Kids with Fun Ideas to Play & Learn


  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Wow – a great list of ideas. I save the inside of chocolate advent calendars because you can squish play dough into the tray and end up with interesting shapes and imprints. We have used empty chocolate boxes too but they aren’t as interesting.

  • Reply
    [email protected] Art
    February 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

    This is a great round-up!
    We love playing with play dough and recently had fun with a little play dough factory: https://www.dillydaliart.com/2012/01/process-art-play-dough.html
    Pinning this! :)

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 11:21 am

    you guys make play dough or buy? Id like to know how you get so much! The stuff in the shops are really tiny in qty! Thanks. Lovely ideas.Do

    • Reply
      December 17, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      what do you go to you can go to ross or target lady

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    February 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    GREAT post full of ideas. I will be sure to pass this along to the parents in my classes the next time we make playdough! I think this gets the point across that the possibilities are really infinite once you open your eyes (and mind) to the prompts that are all around us! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Sarah M
    February 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    what a fabulous list of ideas–I could never have thought of half of these! My son LOVES mazes so we will definitely have to do that!
    Sarah M

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Dina, we make our own playdough. It’s easy and cheap and we always make a big batch!
    Here’s my favorite recipe for no cook playdough: https://artfulparent.com/2012/02/no-cook-versus-cooked-homemade-playdough-recipe.html
    Here’s my favorite recipe for cooked playdough: https://artfulparent.com/2010/12/candy-cane-playdough.html

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Love your playdough factory! How fun!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

    What a great idea! Wonder what other kinds of trays (and little molds) you can use?

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I adore the playdough Earth, really creative! I found these cute little heads for cupcakes in the baking section at michaels and we have been making people with playdough; your recipe is great. Just when I thought I had done it all with playdough too. thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I love, love, love how many ideas are here. We will be trying some very soon. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Elise @ Inspiration Surrounds Creativity Abounds
    February 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    This is a fabulous post – one I’ll be pinning. I love how you have broken it up into different ways to explore with playdough.
    My children enjoy playing with playdough most days. I’m always trying to think of different ways we can use our play dough.
    Our most recent source of inspiration has been replicating birthday cakes that you see in the children’s cake cookbooks. My little girl made a playdough dolly varden “cake” – I wrote about it here:
    We also like to use our “Playdough Mystery Box’ which I explained here:
    We made playdough cities here:
    Old calendar pictures make wonderful backdrops for playdough creations. I wrote about this here:
    My children have also had fun making picture book playdough scenes which can be seen here:

  • Reply
    Kimberly from vogelJoy
    February 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Wow! That is a huge list of what you can do with playdough! We will have to give it a try =D

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    February 22, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I feel kind of dreamy looking at all that playdough! Mmmmmm. Happiness is…

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I’ve just created a daily/weekly schedule for my girls and myself, and I’ve intentionally scheduled some time for play dough to make sure we remember to get it out every week. There are enough ideas here to keep us busy til summer. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks so much for compiling these great ideas. I made playdough with my daughter the other day and had the best time creating a giant sparkly clown:)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    What a fun idea of adding playdough bodies to the cupcake heads!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Wow! So many great posts, Elise! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm


  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    You’re welcome! I hope you and your girls enjoy the playdough time!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Oooh! I giant, sparkly playdough crown!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 8:12 am


  • Reply
    January 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    if your a girl they can make food for a barbies it is realy fun

  • Reply
    October 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    My son and I make dinosaur tracks(from miniature dinosaur figures) in homemade playdoh he got for his birthday. He loves it!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Great list of play-doh fun!! This will keep me and the kids busy for a long time :) Thank you!

  • Reply
    Emily Stuver
    March 10, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Anybody know what the CDC rules are for using playdough in the classroom? I’m assuming different sets of poke-ins, loose parts, playdough, tools?

    • Reply
      The Artful Parent Editorial Team
      March 17, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Emily, I’m not sure what the CDC rules are around playdough in the classroom. You could check their site, or ask your school for recommendations.
      Thanks so much,
      The Editorial Team

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