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Preschool Playdough Mats & Activities

playdough pile

(photo credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom)

Playdough is so much more than just squishy-gooey fun for little fingers. Playing with playdough is beneficial to developing and strengthening fine motor skills. Essentially, playing with playdough can directly impact your little one’s writing skills! (I know, I know, it can be messy. With a few guidelines, you can let your little one squish playdough to their heart’s content.)

Playdough Guidelines At Our House:

  1. Always at the table!
  2. Use a placemat
  3. If you purposefully throw it on the floor, we put your playdough away.

I have found that little ones don’t really have the dexterity to sculpt playdough into complex shapes and can get frustrated. One of the things they can do really well though is make “snakes” and roll a “ball”. Using these two things, we can harness the educational power of playdough through playdough mats!

ABC Playdough Mats

Playdough Mat Ideas:

  • Letter Outlines (Here’s a great printable from Homeschool Creations!)
  • Number Outlines (Another printable from Homeschool Creations)
  • Shape Outlines
  • Child’s Name
  • Counting Sets
  • Simple addition or subtraction facts (also known as “Number Sentences” in Kindergarten)
  • Spelling Words

Cutting Playdough with a Plastic Knife

Other Playdough Activities We Like:

  • Cookie Cutters of all kinds
  • Practicing cutting with a plastic knife
  • Practicing cutting with child-safe scissors (with lots of supervision!)

Here is a little trick to help extend the life of  your Playdough Mats: Slide the playdough mat into a plastic page protector. This will prevent the playdough from sticking to your playdough mat paper and will make it easy to wipe clean. Also, did you know that you can write on page protectors with a dry-erase marker and wipe it clean? Aha! Now our playdough mats are multi-purpose!

Playdough Mat Resources:

That should be a great starting point for you with making playdough time a powerful learning tool!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Jolanthe September 28, 2010, 7:14 am

    Thanks for the link. :) Playdough is in our boxes this week again…and I’m working on some more mats to share eventually! :)

    • Sara September 28, 2010, 2:04 pm

      Yay! Can’t wait to see your new playdough mats!

  • Carrie September 28, 2010, 8:09 am

    Great tips! I just started using playdough mats with my almost-3-year-old with letters this year, and we discovered the wipe-off marker connection, so we’ve been using them for tracing as well – I didn’t think he’d be ready for tracing, but he’s been doing a great job! :)

    • Sara September 28, 2010, 2:03 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Carrie! The possibilities are endless with playdough mats!

  • Brandie October 1, 2010, 8:37 pm

    Thanks for the tip on the page protectors, I was actually going to try and laminate using contact paper…just another option for you to consider!

  • Dawn October 2, 2010, 10:03 pm

    love the mat idea-i’ll have to check them out my son loves to try to cut the playdough with play scissors . i also have a pet peeve about the mixing the playdough colors-my girls don’t though so we end up with lots of funky colors

    • Sara October 3, 2010, 12:26 am

      Ha! I think the other word for my pet peeve would be “anal retentive”. Glad I’m not the only one!

  • RedMango October 18, 2010, 8:28 am

    Very nice post!

  • crystal & co November 3, 2010, 9:43 pm

    this is awesome! playdough also helps build hand dexterity for scissor cutting!

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