9 Awesome Play Doh Activities to Fuel Hands-On Creativity

It’s the smell and feel of childhood. Open up one of those yellow cylinders, and inside a world of fun and imagination awaits.

Play Doh is simple. It’s a colorful modeling clay made of flour, water, salt, boric acid, and mineral oil and has been a fun and engaging activity toy for generations. It’s non-toxic (good thing because you know you’ve tasted it) and requires only imagination to function. While it’s fun to play and create with on its own, there are a wealth of fun play sets that are designed to be used with Play Doh. There are also plenty of creative activities to exercise your child’s mind and keep little hands busy. Simply handling, squishing, and rolling Play doh is beneficial for young children and helps to develop and improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Here are just a few engaging activities to try with your child.

Helpful Hint: It is possible to rescue dried Play Doh that has been left out of the container for too long. Add water to the dried clay one drop at a time and knead in until it returns to the proper consistency.

9 Play Doh Activities for Hands-On Fun

1. Play Doh Zoo

Children love visiting the zoo, petting zoo, or the aquarium. A trip to one of these places is probably not possible every day, but with a little imagination your child can create a zoo, farm, or aquarium using Play Doh. Let your child name some of the animals they would like to visit, and then use the colorful clay to create them. Encourage little ones to imagine and mold habitats, food for the animals, zookeepers, and other accessories that their animals require.


2. Play Doh Bakery

Of all of the fun play sets available, the Play-Doh Sweet Bakin Creations Playset is a favorite. Use rollers, molds, and modeling tools to create cookies, cakes and more. ‘Bake’ them in the play oven, and then use the icing presser to ice the dessert treats. The set comes with everything needed for hours of play, including Play Doh, play oven, molds, and accessories. Perfect for toddlers.

Play-Doh Sweet Bakin Creations Playset


3. Treasure Hunt

A fun activity for one child or a group, a Play Doh treasure hunt is simple to set up, and exciting for the ‘treasure hunters’. It does, however, require a large amount of doh. In a large lump of clay, push pennies or other coins and trinkets inside. Spread it out relatively flat. If any ‘treasure’ appears as you’re spreading, simply push them inside and cover up with more doh. The hunters then use a plastic spoon to extract their treasure. For an additional layer of fun, add the treasure after the doh is fairly flat and then draw a map of where it is hidden. Use different color Play Doh to create landmarks on the surface and have them follow the map and dig for treasure. Kids can enjoy burying treasure and creating their own maps, as well.


4. Pictionary

A terrific way for the entire family to enjoy Play Doh, use it for a unique twist on the classic Pictionary game. Pictionary involves two teams of at least two players each. Before starting the game, write down some kid friendly items that can be made with doh on slips of paper. Fold the slips and put them in a bowl or container so that they can’t easily be seen. Gameplay is simple. Teams take turns and one player from a team draws a slip and must make the item from the doh. The other team member or members must then guess the item. If the team can’t guess within a certain amount of time, the other team has the opportunity to steal the point. The most points wins!


5. Play Doh Activity Books

Books like Making Shapes with Monkey use Play Doh to make reading an interactive and hands-on activity. This particular book introduces little ones to shapes as they help Monkey make a birdhouse for Mama bird, a kite for Squirrel, and a flower for Bumblebee. Monkey forms  circles, squares, rectangles, and stars to fulfill his friends’  orders. A colorful and engaging way to learn with Play Doh.

Play Doh: Making Shapes With Monkey


6. Letters, Numbers, and Counting

Play Doh is useful for making many shapes, and that includes letters, numbers, and even words. Practicing skills like reading, writing, the alphabet, and counting is made simple with doh. Kids can form the entire alphabet, their names, and numbers on their own. Or, you can write the letters, numbers, words, and shapes on a pieces of paper, and they can use Play Doh on the stencils you have made. For more permanent stencils, consider using high quality craft paper and laminating it to use over and over. Write a color word like ‘green’ and encourage children to make it with green doh. Try to incorporate counting by putting a number like ‘3’ on one sheet with the word ‘three’ and then have them count out and form three balls of dough. The possibilities are endless.


7. Play Doh Monsters

For a fun creative activity, use doh to make cool monsters, robots, or imaginary insects. While they can be constructed of just the colorful clay, a few little accessories can make it even more fun. Use paperclips, toothpicks, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes (found at craft stores), nuts, bolts, and any little household items to create lots of unique creatures.


8. Construction Site

Play Doh is an excellent companion to all of those toy trucks, cars, and construction vehicles. And, it’s a whole lot cleaner than dirt or sand. Use doh and toy equipment to move ‘dirt’, create and move hills, build ramps and roads, move Play Doh cargo, or anything else your little one can think up. Expand on the construction site and build a Play Doh town, forest, gardens, and more.


9. Play Doh Board Game

There are board games like Play Doh Monster Smash Board Game, designed specifically for use with the popular modeling clay.  In the game players must stop hungry invading space monsters from stealing their food. The monsters are formed from doh, and boots and shoes are used to smash them as they move through the game board. It’s hands-on, silly fun for kids and the entire family.



We love to hear from you. Tell us about your favorite Play Doh activities in the comments below!


Feature image courtesy of Flickr, dbrekke.

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