Playdough is great for open-ended play. I have tried to use a variety of role play, small world play, reading and speech and maths when making up these trays for the little man, and of course it is also good for fine motor skills. There are lots of sites that explain more about the benefits of playdough, including here and here. I’ve enjoyed watching the little man come up with ideas, both of types of trays we could do and also what to do with the things on the trays.

Nurture Store and The Imagination Tree have great playdough inspiration and recipes if you are looking for ideas. Here’s what has filled our weeks lately. Part 1 {here} and Part 3 {here}.

kerieneplaydoughpost1 kerieneplaydoughpost2



– Florist




– Dinosaur. The little man enjoyed the volcano we made recently so we happily made another (we used these instructions). He quite liked dunking the dinosaurs into it, then walking them along the playdough. Here is an elaborate playdough dinosaur world.




– Colour mixing, which is great for fine motor skills and concentration as getting the colours to completely mix is hard work.



– Bus, which I used to focus on rolling, using cookie cutters, shapes, colours and words so the bus itself could be easily substituted with anything you like. I used cardboard to make the bus and shapes but there are plenty of printable playdough mats you could use instead, some are available here.




– Craft box. This is not all that different from what we generally use when we play with playdough – a mix of things from Play-Doh sets and anything we find in the craft box. Advice on setting up a playdough tool box can be found here and here.




– Ocean. (Excuse the lighting in these photos – the little man was so keen for more playdough that we did this tray after dinner one evening). There are gorgeous printable sea creatures that can be added to playdough available here.




– Construction site, using edible peanut butter and chocolate playdoughs. We did a similar tray almost a year ago, which was inspired by this, and it is certainly fun (I am surprised I haven’t recreated it sooner). The playdough recipes I used are from here and here.