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Playtime Fun! Engaging Playdough Activities for Preschoolers

playdough activities for preschoolers
Playdough is a fun and versatile material that has been a favorite among children for generations. It’s an excellent tool for developing fine motor skills, stimulating creativity, and exploring different textures and 
sensory experiences. However, as a parent or educator, you may find sometimes run out of ideas for playdough time. Looking for some brilliant ideas is a good option. 

In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of playing with playdough, provide instructions for making homemade playdough, and offer simple and engaging activities you can do with your preschooler. We’ll also share some educational activities to help your child learn while playing. By the end of this article, you’ll have plenty of ideas for creating a fun and engaging playdough experience for your child that will promote their development and bring them joy. So, let’s get started!

Benefits of Playing with Playdough

Playing with playdough offers a wide range of developmental benefits for preschoolers. 

  • First and foremost, it helps to develop kids’ fine motor skills, which are essential for tasks such as writing, drawing, and using utensils. Manipulating the dough by rolling, pinching, and cutting strengthens the muscles in their hands and fingers, improving their dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
  • In addition to fine motor skills, playdough promotes creativity and imagination. Children can use their imaginations to create anything they desire, from a pizza to a rocket ship, giving them a sense of control and independence. Playdough also encourages sensory exploration, as children can experiment with different textures, colors, and scents, stimulating their senses and helping them learn about the world around them.
  • Another benefit of playing with playdough is that it can help children regulate their emotions. Kneading and manipulating playdough can be a calming and soothing activity, helping children to release tension and anxiety. It can also be a social activity, as children can share their creations with others and engage in collaborative play.

Overall, playing with playdough is a fun and effective way for preschoolers to develop important skills that will benefit them in many areas of their lives.

Making Homemade Play Dough

homemade play dough

In order to engage in playdough activities, most moms would prefer to purchase ready-made playdough from the store. However, did you know that making homemade playdough is not only cost-effective but also provides a fun activity for you and your preschooler to do together? Here’s a simple recipe for making homemade playdough that will keep your little ones entertained for hours.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • Food coloring (optional)


  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the water, vegetable oil, and food coloring (if using).
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to a large pot and cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
  • Remove the pot from heat and let the dough cool for a few minutes.
  • Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable.

And voila! You now have a batch of homemade playdough that your preschooler will love to play with. Store the playdough in an airtight container to keep it fresh for future use.

Making homemade playdough is a great way to save money and allows you to control the ingredients used. Plus, your little ones will love helping you make it and playing with the final product. So next time you’re in the mood for fun and engaging activities with your preschooler, try making homemade playdough together!

Engaging Playdough Activities for Preschoolers

You have the play area and playdough to start engaging for playtime fun. The only thing that’s been missing is fun playdough activities preschoolers can do. You don’t need to worry if you have run out of ideas because we’ve got you covered with these engaging playdough activities for preschoolers.

1. Playdough Pizzas 

playdough activities

Encourage your preschooler to create their pizza using different colors of playdough for the crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings. This activity promotes creativity and imagination while teaching basic food and cooking concepts.

2. Playdough Animals

Have your preschooler use playdough to create their favorite animals or imaginary creatures. They can use different colors of playdough to make different features and add details such as eyes, ears, and tails. This activity promotes fine motor skills and encourages imaginative play.

3. Playdough Robots

Kids love robots, so why not encourage your preschooler to use playdough to create their robot, complete with different features and accessories such as arms, legs, antennae, and eyes? To get started, provide your child with different colors of playdough and encourage them to roll, shape, and mold the playdough into their desired robot shape. They can add accessories and details using small objects such as beads, pipe cleaners, or googly eyes.

As your preschooler creates their robot, you can encourage them to think about the different functions and abilities of their robot. What special powers does their robot have? What tasks can it perform? You can also use this playdough activity for preschoolers as an opportunity to introduce basic engineering and technology concepts, such as how robots are built and what they can be used for.

4. Playdough Shapes

Being able to identify shapes is an important skill, so encourage your preschooler to use different colors of playdough to create various shapes. For example, they can use playdough that has been colored with yellow and orange clay to create an octagon shape or playdough that has been colored with red clay to make a rectangle. This activity promotes fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination and introduces basic math concepts. Try to explain the basic shapes as you work with your preschooler, for example, by giving them the name and characteristics of a particular shape.

5. Playdough Garden

A Garden is a place where plants and vegetables are grown. If your preschooler is interested in plants, you can create a playdough garden they can care for and enjoy. Get them to create a small garden landscape with small plastic pots, dirt, grass, and flowers. Encourage them to use different colors of playdough to make the plants grow and bloom. They can also add other details such as bugs, birds, butterflies, etc… Use sticks or pipe cleaners for tree trunks and branches.

Here are some additional playdough activities for preschoolers we found that are also fun and engaging.

6. Color Mixing 

color mixing 

Let your preschooler’s imagination run wild with this exciting color-mixing activity using playdough by Buggy and Buddy! Provide your child with two or more primary colors and encourage them to experiment with mixing and creating new colors. This is a great opportunity to teach them about color theory and how primary colors can be combined to create secondary colors. To make the activity more engaging, provide different tools like plastic knives, cookie cutters, and rollers to help them blend the colors.

7. Playdough Puzzles

Playdough Puzzles Create puzzles using playdough for your preschooler to solve. You can create shapes or simple objects out of playdough and then cut them into pieces for your preschooler to put back together. This activity promotes problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.

8. Monster Play Dough

With this fun playdough activity, your little ones will love creating unique monsters. Encourage your child to get creative and use their imagination to design their own monster. Provide different colors of playdough and various tools like plastic eyes, pipe cleaners, and pom-poms to help them bring their monster to life. This activity helps your child develop their creativity and imagination while refining their fine motor skills. You may refer to Frugal Fun 4 Boys for inspiration.

9. Improve Cutting Skills with Playdough

improve cutting skills with playdough

Playdough is a fantastic way to improve your child’s cutting skills. Provide your preschooler with playdough and a pair of child-safe scissors. Encourage them to cut and shape the playdough into different shapes and sizes. This activity helps improve their hand-eye coordination and develops their fine motor skills while also allowing them to get creative with their shapes. You can find more at  The OT Toolbox.

10. Improve Writing Skills with Playdough

Another way to use playdough is to improve your child’s writing skills. Provide your preschooler with playdough and have them shape letters and numbers. This activity by No Time For Flashcards helps your child develop their fine motor skills and get comfortable with the world of literacy. Print out a collection of letters and numbers, laminate them, and use them as dough mats to make the activity even more engaging.

11. Make a Meal

Encourage your child to explore their culinary skills with this playdough activity. Provide them with different colors of playdough and ask them to create their favorite meal or dessert. This activity helps your child develop their creativity and imagination while also refining their fine motor skills. Additionally, this activity allows them to learn about different foods and their colors.

12. Create a Solar System

solar system playdough

Bring the solar system to life with this engaging playdough activity! Provide your child with different colors of playdough and encourage them to create the sun, planets, and stars. This activity not only helps your child develop their creativity but also allows them to learn about the solar system and its components. You can visit Montessori From The Heart for additional suggestions on how to get started.

Final Thoughts

Playdough is an excellent tool for promoting learning and development in preschoolers. It is a versatile and affordable material that can teach various skills, such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, color recognition, problem-solving, and imaginative play. With these engaging playdough activities for preschoolers, you can help your child develop important skills and have fun at the same time. Remember to supervise your preschooler during playtime and have fun exploring the endless possibilities of playdough play!

Baby Steps Daycare, and Preschool understands the struggles that parents face when it comes to finding engaging and educational activities for their preschoolers. That’s why we crafted this article to share some ideas you can try at home. 

In case you want to learn more about fun activities for preschoolers, please contact Baby Steps on our website. We are happy to provide more suggestions that you can try.