Updated on by Crystalyn

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Are you looking for fun educational ways to use play dough? Play dough is perfect for teaching because it’s so much fun to play with; kids can build with it, write on it, count with it, etc. Which makes it so easy to combine learning and play.

Whether you want your child to practice using their fine motor skills or learn the alphabet and numbers, play dough is the answer. It’s so versatile and has so many educational uses.

And best of all it’s really easy to make at home! Plus if you make it yourself you can have peace of mind knowing exactly what’s in it and you can make it any color or scent you might want.

Play Dough Learning Ideas

Learning Letters, Numbers, and Shapes

Use cookie cutters and presses to practice making letters, numbers, and shapes and naming them. Once your child knows all of those, they can start making words, doing math, and sorting colors and shapes with play dough letters, numbers, and shapes.

Play dough mats are perfect for learning to free shape play dough into distinct shapes and learn about counting and letters, etc. I’ve linked to several play dough mats you can print yourself below. Or if you’d rather not print and laminate your own play dough mats, you can always buy some on Amazon.

Use letter and number stamps to write words and do simple math. Plus you could practice identifying and using upper and lowercase letters properly.

Learning about Measurements and Patterns

Play dough is easy to make different lengths and sizes to measure with a ruler. Also if you can find a ruler with raised numbers and lines, you can make a play dough ruler.

Creating patterns with different colors and shapes can be fun. You could make it more interesting by giving your child other things besides play dough to add to their patterns.

Creative Free Play

A good way to practice scissor use is to roll out some play dough fairly thin and let your child cut it up into pieces. And when they are finished just squish it all back together. No paper mess!

Have your kids ever tried drawing on play dough with washable markers? If not you should let them try it! Warning: it will probably change the color of the play dough at least slightly after it is mixed in, but it’s lots of fun.

If you don’t want to deal with the mess of markers, popsicle sticks also work great for drawing on play dough. Then when they’re finished just squish it back together to erase.

And finally the most obvious play dough activity, just let them be creative and make anything they can think of. For example vehicles, animals, food, etc., or even just odd blobs that you have no idea what they could be.

Favorite Play Dough Tools and Toys

The tools and toys below are some of my favorites for playing with play dough. If you click on them you can see them on Amazon.

Now for the recipe so you can make your own personalized play dough!

Print Recipe
Homemade Play Dough
Easy to make, customizable play dough.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Prep Time 20 minutes
  1. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar, salt, Kool-Aid, and glitter, if desired. Pour water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from burner and quickly put several drops of food coloring and essential oils if using into the water. Pour into flour mixture, stir, and knead until completely combined. Let cool before letting kids play with it. Lasts for several months if kept in an airtight container or bag.

If you have any questions at all please ask in the comments below.

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