Modeling with playdough, clay, and other doughs is a childhood favorite.
We have lots of clay and playdough ideas for kids, including more than one excellent playdough recipe, playdough play ideas, an edible playdough recipe, ideas for using clay with kids, and recipes for other doughs.
- Most kids love to squeeze and squish playdough between their fingers
- They like to roll it into snakes and balls
- Poke it with tools or add decorations
- Mold it into various shapes and sculptures
The same is true with clays and with other doughs such as salt dough, air dry clay, and bread dough. You really can’t go wrong with a dough-based activity!
Here’s a video showing Playdough Play Ideas in action! And keep scrolling for over 30 ways for kids to model, craft, and explore with playdough, clay, and other doughs.
Playdough Ideas for Kids
Playdough is one of our go-to materials and activities for everyday creative play. We keep a kitchen drawer stocked with playdough, playdough tools, and playdough “decorations” (toothpicks, beads, googly eyes, feathers). I’d say playdough is one of the top three regular creative outlets in our home. For everyday, endlessly enjoyable and changeable creative fun, playdough is hard to beat.
Here are some playdough recipes, ways to play with playdough, and homemade gift ideas using playdough.
Homemade Playdough Recipes
Homemade playdough is better than store bought for so many reasons! It’s easy to make, cheap, and you can make a big batch which really allows kids to use it more expressively and naturally. Plus the homemade stuff is soft and smells good. And when you make your own, you can add your own personal touch with color, essential oils, and glitter (great for pairing your playdough play with seasons, holidays, party themes, and mood!).
Playdough Ideas for Kids
- 15+ Creative Playdough Ideas for Kids
- Fun 3D Playdough Faces Kids Can Make
- Playdough Fun with Mandalas, Earth Balls & Color Mixing
Pretend Play with Playdough
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. Sometimes they incorporate figurines for some small world play.
Playdough as Gifts
If you want a homemade gift that children can participate in making for other kids, playdough fits the bill perfectly. It’s easy and fun to make, inexpensive, and once given, encourages creative play. Here are a few fun ways to give playdough as gifts.
- Snowman Playdough in a Mason Jar Snow Globe
- Homemade Candy Cane Playdough :: A Creative Gift for Kids
- Combine homemade playdough with some fun poke-ins such as googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and beads or buttons
Using Clay with Children
We use regular potters’ clay and simply air dry the pots and other things the kids make then (sometimes) paint them with acrylic paint. We also like to use commercial air dry clay (usually Crayola brand) to make more durable creations.
- Pinch Pots with Air Dry Clay
- A Kids Pottery Wheel
- Clay Leaf Prints with Air Dry Clay
- A Homemade Air Dry Clay Recipe (and comparison with Model Magic)
More Dough Crafts and Ideas
Want more clay and playdough ideas for kids? Click to see The Artful Parent archive for the entire category!
And if you’re looking for a particular activity, use the search field in the right sidebar of the site.
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