Here are some of our favorite ideas for play with playdough to get your kids’ creativity going. From pretend play to practicing letters, these activities are perfect for everyday creative play.
Updated March 2023
We’re always trying out new playdough play ideas. In fact, 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). It’s easily accessible and frequently brought out, either by the kids when they want to make playdough cakes to sell in their living room store or by me when I see that they might need a diversion or easy activity.
In fact, I’d say playdough play is one of the top three regular creative outlets in our home (the other two being our big chalkboard and simple paper and markers/crayons/scissors). Sure, we paint quite a bit and we’re always trying some new art or craft idea. But for everyday, endlessly enjoyable and changeable creative fun, playdough is hard to beat.
Here’s a video showing some of my favorite Playdough Play Ideas in action! And keep scrolling for some of our favorite playdough play ideas.
Homemade playdough is super simple and fun to make. We love our cooked recipe for making big batches that last a long time. And we love our no-cook recipe because you can involve your kids in the process of making it! And if you’re not up for making your own, we really like the Colorations brand.
Once you have your playdough ready, here are some of the things our kids love to do over and over again with it!
Play with Playdough Ideas
1. Pretend Food
Cupcakes, spaghetti, even apple pies! Kids love to use playdough to make food! They can play kitchen or restaurant and whip up lots of yummy creations to serve to friends, family, or stuffed animals.
2. Create letters and words
Playdough is perfect for practicing early reading and writing skills. Children can roll out snakes to turn into letters (also great for developing fine motor skills!) or use letter stamps to press into the dough.
3. Sculpt People, Animals, and Things
Playdough is a great consistency for sculpting, especially for little hands. Kids can create tiny worlds with mountains, volcanoes, and trees for their little toy animals. Or they can sculpt the animals (or maybe even monsters!) that live in the tiny worlds!
There’s nothing more satisfying for kids to poke anything and everything into a blob of playdough! We love different shaped pasta, cut up straws, buttons, nuts and bolts, toothpicks, and even googly eyes!
How about you? What are your kids favorite playdough play ideas?
More Playdough Play Ideas and Recipes
- 33 Ideas with Playdough for Kids
- 15+ Creative Playdough Ideas for Kids
- 3 Homemade Playdough Recipes for Kids
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This looks great but assumes the household has plenty of ‘left overs’ and other tit bits which can be used with the playdough or plasticine.
I am looking for some examples of what small kids can make with nothing added. No beads, buttons, sequins etc. A family of recent refugees with a four year old very bright kid, since one week in Europe. In a temporary transit home with only very basic equipment, no recycleables (yet). They got some plasticine and I am looking for really simple, basic suggestions of what the kid can create himself. Little pots, animals, flowers, cars, whatever. Most sites have wonderful examples but not necessarily ‘doable’ for a rural kid who never went to kindergarten, everything is new and even his parents never saw plasticine, let alone played with it.
Or they are for types of synthetic clays which can harden into jewelry etc. Such examples are only confusing.
So, how about a little video with just a few examples of little kids’s own creativity 🙂 ?
Thanks for your comment. I would recommend working with the modeling clay only, especially if it’s a new art material for the child. My 6 year old particularly loves plastilina clay and often uses nothing with is (aside from his imagination)! 🙂 We highly recommend this clay at The Artful Parent because unlike playdough and other clays, plastilina never dries out––making it a very economic option. When the times comes to add tools for texture––garlic presses, chopsticks, forks/knives, etc create interesting texture in the clay. I hope these might spark some ideas for you! Best wishes!