What comes in several colors, is fun for all ages, and inspires parents to steal from their toddlers? You guessed it: Play-Doh. Play-Doh is a time honored and well loved namesake, one that offers fun times and family creativity. September 16th is National Play-Doh day, and in its honor, Daily Mom is proud to highlight some of the gooey goodness about Play-Doh.

Happy National Play-Doh Day!


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Everyone knows that Play-Doh is engaging and thrilling, but what else is there to know? In honor of National Play-Doh Day, everyone should brush up on their Play-Doh Facts:

  • Play-Doh was first designed to remove wall residue and build-up because of its’ pliable nature. Crazy, huh?
  • When it was first created, Play-Doh was introduced in just one color: Off-white. Eh. Can you imagine? Today we have endless color options going well beyond the primary palette, and can even choose glitter or neon!
  • An obvious leader in it’s field, Play-Doh holds a coveted spot in the National Toy Halls of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in New York

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If looking for inspiration on sculpting the perfect Play-doh creature, check out these fun how-to Play-doh videos. These videos include butterflies, nature scenes, astronauts, My Little Ponies, and more. Don’t get stuck rolling endless snakes when there are so many more options that can be easily created. 

Play-Doh For Learning


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Play-Doh is widely used in early childhood centers and elementary classrooms across the nation. With its’ pliable nature and soothing capabilities, there are many educational advantages to having it in a teacher’s classroom arsenal.

Play-Doh is soothing.
In a day and age of fidget spinners and hand held manipulatives, there is something soothing and calming about Play-Doh. It can be stretched, pulled, molded, squished, pounded, and shaped. It can be used in times of happiness with friends. It can be used in times of anger and sadness. It truly has universal emotional healing powers, no matter the mood.

Play-Doh strengthens fine motor skills.
Sure, everyone knows how to squish and mold Play-Doh. Did you also know that you can cut it, tweeze it, wrap it in string, and pinch it? You can! Play-Doh can emphasize and fine tune fine motor strength in kids of all ages. Whether you are making pinch pots, rolling snakes, or creating hundreds of small Play-Doh balls, OT’s everywhere rejoice in the power of Play-Doh.

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Play-Doh enhances letter and number recognition.
Letter and numbers and shapes, oh my! The best part of Play-Doh is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. Whether you’re using shape molds, letter molds, or number molds Play-Doh is there as a great teaching tool.

  • Letter recognition: Whether you are using letter molds to create letters out of Play-Doh, wrapping up magnetic letters within the moldable clay, or creating objects that start with certain sounds, there are no limits when it comes to working with Play-Doh. Take it to the next step by using Play-Doh mats to create words.
  • Number recognition: Just like letters, number recognition and identification can be strengthened with Play-Doh mats.

Play-Doh teaches pre-reading skills essential for later learning.
Pre-phonemic awareness is the ability to think about, identify, and manipulate the sounds of spoken language. Putting it simply, it is the power to understand that the letter D makes a /d/ sound and that the name Gretchen has two syllables. How does this have anything to do with Play-Doh you ask! Let me count the ways.

  • Smash mats: A simple search on Pinterest will give many examples of printable smash mats. They can be used for rhyming, picture identification, and letter and sound recognition.
  • Syllable counting: After shaping Play-Doh balls, use them to show how many syllables are heard in a word.

Play-Doh For Fun


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In addition to classrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and outdoor play areas are filled with the colorful goo called Play-Doh. Whether your house has homemade Play-Doh or the store bought brand, there are limitless options of colors, scents, and fun activities.

Play-Doh Recipes

What do you get when you combine flour + salt + vegetable oil + cream of tartar + a fabulous color of your choice? A killer play-doh recipe that can easily be made at home and last for months. For play-doh recipes with a twist, why not add glitter and scents? From jello smelling to mint scented, super stretchy to rockstar rock salt, Play-Doh provides something for everyone! Think outside the box and DIY a batch of Sand Play-Doh with family and friends, and create something to talk about for years to come.

In addition to the end-user result of having a fabulous new addition to the daytime play roster, creating a Play-Doh recipe is a great activity to do as a family. Kids of all ages can play sous chef by measuring, stirring, and mixing this concoction. Getting kids into the kitchen is a time honored tradition that is sometimes left behind in today’s generation. Grab an apron, mixing cups, your favorite recipe, and your favorite kid(s) and create Play-Doh today. The learning and the enjoyment won’t end once the recipe is mixed. Instead, that is when the fun will really begin!

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At-Home Play-Doh Activities

Surprise Game. Everyone loves the element of surprise. Add in Play-Doh and the surprise is even better. Hide a Shopkins, tuck in a matchbox, or cover a dinosaur for a fun and entertaining experience. Roll the Play-doh into a ball around a favorite object and watch a child nearby ooh and ah in amazement as their special toy is revealed.

Playdough Mats. These colorful mats can be used at home and school, for learning and fun, for both grown-ups and children. Playdough mats are versatile in nature and are adaptable to a variety of households.

Play-Doh Monsters. Children love Play-Doh and children are intrigued by the thought of monsters. This winning combination will quickly teach kids not to be fearful of the infamous monster, by allowing them the creativity to make the monster of their choosing.

Play-Doh and Noodles. A great, though highly unlikely, combination of fun comes in the form of noodles sticking out of Play-Doh. If you’re curious how this may work, head to the pantry to stock up on the necessary items and start constructing. 

In addition to using Play-Doh as a learning tool (both in and out of the classroom), check out 5 Effective Reading Strategies for Preschoolers.

National Play-Doh Day

Photo Credit: Mojitos and Munchkins, Ashley Wells

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April is a goldendoodle obsessed mom-of-three with a new puppy named Lainey. She loves traveling, homemade spaghetti sauce, sarcasm, and her day job as an outreach coordinator. She is a blogger at Mojitos and Munchkins where she loves connecting with fellow parents and commiserating about life in the trenches with little people. After a two-week stint of RV living, she has hopes to "sell it all" and escape on a never ending road trip with her family.April now lives in Minnesota, after growing up in the neighboring Hawkeye state. Her and her husband have three adventurous children who are on a constant quest to keep life busy. After a decade in the classroom, April turned in her lesson plan book to focus on slowing her family’s pace of life down and enjoying the fleeting moments between sun up and sundown. She is thankful for lattes, red blends, movie theaters, and homemade spaghetti sauce. April loves connecting with people through her blog at Mojitos & Munchkins.

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