Play-dough fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers


How often does your child beg to play with play-dough and then look at you like this after you get it all out??? This happens often when we get the play-dough out. So I like to start with directives.  After a while, play begins to happen, and I step away.

Here are some ideas for those days that your child looks at you like this when you get them set up with the playdough.

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- Make a bunch of balls with the play-dough. That alone is great for little hands, but you can also use them to practice counting, adding, scooping, or even sorting (by size and/or color).

- Use letter cookie cutters to cut out letters with the play-dough.  You can practice letter recognition, spelling your name, or even letter sounds.

-Use number cookie cutters to cut out numbers with the play-dough. This is great for number recognition--you can mix this activity with first one by adding the correct number of balls to the corresponding number.

-Make a specific item with your child (snowman, pancakes, wiggly worms, etc...). I like to always ask Emma to make the same thing I'm making to start with.  That seems to give her the confidence to try something else on her own. 

-Practice using utensils.  Play-dough is the perfect consistency for poking, cutting, and scooping.  This is a life skill that can be hard to teach (and VERY MESSY), so play-dough is a great way to fit in some no-pressure practice!

-Play-dough mats--I found these on Etsy.  There are so many options available, could even make your own.

-Make shapes.  If you have a younger child, you can make the shapes and then practice naming the shapes with your child.  If you have an older toddler/preschooler, have them try this on their own.

-Grab some scissors and practice cutting the play-dough.  Again, play-dough is the perfect consistency for this.  Learning to cut with scissors is such great fine motor/pre-writing skill.

Most of the time, if you jus take 5-10 minutes to sit down to get your child started playing with play-dough, their little minds take over and they are able to play on their own! This buys you some time to do dishes and laundry...or maybe drink a cup of coffee!!

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