Play-Doh Activities for Toddlers

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My apologies for not getting a Loving Lately post together for Monday — I’ll try to make next week’s post twice as good!

Lately my daughter has been loving Play-Doh. Play-Doh seems like one of the simplest toys or activities out there for kids — modeling compound? How complex can it be? But once you start adding all of the kits and accessories made for it, Play-Doh can get pretty intense.

But what if you want to keep it simple? You might be like me — we have two colors of Play-Doh (purple and turquoise, as shown here) and none of the accoutrements. If you’ve got a toddler (or even an older baby, as long as they listen when you tell them not to eat the Play-Doh), simple is just fine.

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Here are some ways that we use Play-Doh to keep it interesting, as well as fun:

Learning the alphabet: Form Play-Doh into a variety of letters and have your child name the letter or make the sound. For older kiddos, they could form sight words with a few letters, or you could shape a letter and then name words that start with it, Scattergories style. You could also use alphabet magnets to stamp the Play-Doh with letters to form words.

Learning math: Form numbers from the Play-Doh and name them. For older kids, you could put together math facts, either by shaping numbers and math symbols and putting them together or forming the Play-Doh into tiny balls and counting them out. To make it extra fun, when you add “2 + 2”, smash the “2” and the “2” together and then form “4” (unless you’re a George Orwell fan, and then you might form “5”).

Imprinting: Use household items (large washers, sponges, old sweaters) to imprint patterns and shapes on flattened Play-Doh. This can help with learning shapes and is just all-around fun. Older kids could use different textures to create a collage-style image (make a landscape where an old sweater print forms the hillside, a washer makes the sun) on flattened Play-Doh.

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Motor skills: Roll the Play-Doh into a ball and roll it across the table to your child, having them then roll it back to you. Sometimes this gets a little crazy, but Play-Doh is pretty easy to re-shape and shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. Tossing the ball of Play-Doh into the storage container, a la basketball, can be fun too. You can also have kiddos of varying ages use cookie cutters to make shapes in the Play-Doh.

Smashing: You can’t play with Play-Doh without smashing the heck out of it at some point. That’s just a given.

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Hopefully you’re inspired to get out those little tubs and have some good old-fashioned fun. What’s your favorite Play-Doh product? The taste of Play-Doh: love it or hate it? (You know you’ve tried it …)

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