Parenting & Family

Go Go Parenting Hacks – Play Dough Time!

Are you looking for a fun, educational activity that your preschool aged child will love? Let’s give them some play dough! Play dough provides endless learning opportunities for your child. Some benefits include:

  • Strengthens children’s fine motor skills that are needed for writing and drawing.
  • Builds language skills.
  • Is a fun way to incorporate educational activities children can engage in that can include colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and models.

While store bought play dough is very popular, you may choose to make your own play dough with the assistance of your young helper. There are numerous recipes for homemade play dough. This recipe (and many other recipes, including glow in the dark play dough) can be found on


What you will need:

½ cup salt

1 cup water

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Food coloring


How to make play dough:

  1. Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a pan.
  2. Mix the water with the food coloring.
  3. Add the water/color-mix to the other ingredients, stir well.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, while constantly stirring.
  5. When the mixture becomes “doughy”, remove from heat and start kneading. (the dough will be hot, be careful if your child is helping)
  6. When desired texture is achieved, the play dough is finished

Some educational activities you can have your preschool child complete with play dough are:

Alphabet and Number mats (optional: have them laminated for easy re-use). These printable mats are used for children to roll and shape their play dough in the form of letters and numbers. A great feature of the alphabet mats are that children practice their uppercase and lowercase letters. The number mats not only have children form numbers, there is also a space for children to practice counting to that number using small play dough balls.

Play dough models: Copy the Monster (printable): *You will need pipe cleaner and plastic eyes.* Children will be given a picture of a monster and will create the same monster using their play dough. This activity helps children with their visual and spacial skills.

More Activities (no printable required):

  • Use cookie cutters to make shapes
  • Use a plastic knife to write letters and numbers in play dough
  • Sculpt objects – animals, people, trains, etc.
  • Experiment with color by mixing different color play dough
  • Create patterns

Who knew that playing with play dough could be so beneficial to children?

Working with play dough can help your child develop fine motor skills and help to improve their visual and spacial skills.  It can be also be used to help practice language skills, letters, numbers, and colors. The educational uses are endless!