10 Playdough Learning Activities to Try in Your Classroom

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Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Playdough is one of those things most kids just can’t get enough of — so why not add some playdough learning activities to your classroom? After all, we know kids learn through play, and while they’re squishing and rolling, kids can be building their fine motor skills, building the foundation of literacy, and more.

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Easy No-Cook Playdough Recipe for Teachers

Before you can add any of these playdough learning activities, you’ll need some of the dough itself! You can either purchase the good old Play-Doh, alternatively, here is an easy, no-cook playdough recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water (you can bring it to a boil in the microwave!)
  • Optional: add a few drops of food coloring

Mix all the ingredients together, and presto … you’ve got playdough for your students to work with!


Playdough Learning Activities

Now that you’ve got your playdough, it’s time to start learning!

Fractions

Using a cookie cutter and a ruler, practice fractions with playdough! Students need to create different fractions when you call them out!

play-doh fractions


Letter and Number Development

Among the many benefits of playdough? Students can use it to practice letter and number formation, working both their fine motor development and their foundational skills at the same time. Have your students roll out snakes of dough then shape them into the letters of the alphabet and numbers zero through nine.

To scaffold learning, provide them with guides for the activity — these alphabet and number mats are printable and include outlines of the letters and numbers so students can place their playdough creations on them.

playdough activity using alphabet mats


Tens Frames Activity

Balls of playdough make perfect counters! Print a free Blank Tens Frames and Numbers 1-10 Poster (cut out as flashcards). Students flip over a flashcard and create that number on a tens frame using small balls of playdough. They then place their chosen flashcard to the bottom of the pile and pick another flashcard and repeat.

playdough learning activity on a tens frame


Practice Telling Time With Playdough

Rolled out playdough is perfect for creating “hands” for a clock! Use a black Digital and Analog Clock Template and flashcards with different times on them. Students create the hour and minute hand using playdough to show the time displayed on their flashcards.

Digital and Analog Clock Activitiy


CVC Words

Use CVC Words – Playdough Mats for students to practice writing and forming the words using playdough.

CVC word playdough mats

 


Number, Word and Array

Using our Number, Word and Array Match-Up Worksheet, cut out all of the number and word pieces and throw away the array pieces. Instead, the students create the array using small balls of playdough!

Playdough Arrays


Creating 2D Shapes

Introduce your students to 2D shapes, then give them playdough to practice recreating the shapes with this hands-on idea!

2D shape mats for use with playdough


Place Value Activity

Using our Blank Hundreds Board, this is a fun place value game played in pairs. Each student picks two number flashcards and decides which number will be the ones and which will be the tens. They then cover that number with a small ball of playdough. Then, their partner randomly chooses two different numbers and does the same thing with different colored playdough.

As a class you can decide who the winner is. Perhaps it is the person who gets three balls of playdough in a row.

Hundreds Board Activity


3D Objects

Provide students with a poster of 3D Objects. Students then create 3D objects using the playdough.

3D Objects Playdough


Sight Words Playdough

Provide students with sight word flashcards, and have them “write” each word using playdough. Let them get creative and use a variety of colors!

Sight Word Playdough Activity the word done spelled out with play-doh

We would love to hear from you…how do you use playdough in the classroom?

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