Playdough is a staple around here.  We've always got at least one batch (if not two or more!) available to the kiddos at all times.  S is a playdough expert - she can create imaginary creatures, she can use any and all of the playdough tools available to her to sculpt and create to her imagination's content.  But what about our little guy?  How does he play with playdough?  I thought I'd write up a little post on introducing playdough to babies and toddlers; they don't have the dexterity and imagination that older children do, but they can still have a blast with playdough!

So let's start at the beginning - what age is best for introducing playdough?  If you are a long time reader of the blog, you've heard me mention how incredibly different my two children are.  They both have hit milestones in their development at VERY different ages.  S was always speeding ahead, hitting milestones very early.  She first sat up solo at 5 months, for instance.  X has some motor delays, so he's on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Strangely enough though, they both began playing with playdough at 15 months of age.  So based on my super limited data pool - I'd say around 15 months is ideal!  :)  The very first game we played with playdough was right around 14-15 months.  It's called SQUIIIIISH!  Can you guess why?

It's a great way to introduce some new vocabulary words - squish, squeeze, sticky, etc.

X was (and honestly still is!) a big fan of the squish game.

Another favorite game is to pull things out of playdough (he's several months older in the photos below - ironically he was wearing the same pair of pajamas!).  Here we've borrowed some of sister's Playstix (we seriously love those things!) and I've put them in the dough.  X's job is to rescue them!  He squeals with delight as he successfully removes each one.  This is a great fine motor builder in addition to just being plain fun!

X tries to stick the Playstix back in, but he's not able to yet - depending on your child's motor skills they may be able to both "pull!" and "push!".   This is at least a great way for X to practice those pushing skills.  :)

 And of course, post-removal there are some fabulous holes to investigate!

X loooooves this game.  He will literally bring us the Gladware container of playdough and ask "play?  play?".  Adorable.  And when sister is busy creating something more intricate with playdough, X can sit right next to her with his own set up and play alongside her.

You can find our favorite recipe for homemade playdough here.  Though our favorite playdough is technically edible, it's so high in salt, I think it would upset a little one's stomach if they are still mouthing things (X no longer "tastes" things).  If your child is likely to sneak a taste or two, I'd recommend using an edible playdough recipe that doesn't have salt, like our Pumpkin Play Clay or our No-Cook Gluten-Free Edible Playdough.

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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.


  1. I started with my baby at about 10 months old and we just made holes in the playdough, peeked through it, stuck our fingers into it and then used all her fave things like spoons and scoops and animals to play with it. I would show her how to use the cookie cutters and the roller and she has it. At 15 months now, she can roll dough, uses it for a number of things, and loves to post it into stuff.

    1. That's awesome, Niki! I love that she's able to do so much!

  2. Oh those photos are just about the cutest thing EVER!!!
    I love that play dough works for so many ages and stages.. it is still one of my kid's favourite activities, even the nine year olds!

    1. Thank you, Kate!!!! And I so agree - I still have SO MUCH fun with it, and I'm 33. :)

  3. Great reminder to get out more play dough! I think the links at the end are the same - can you direct me to find your favorite play dough recipe (not pumpkin)? Thanks!

    1. Yeek! You're right! Thank you for catching that! I just fixed the link, and the post can be found here:

  4. I don't think my 19 month old grandson has played with Play Doh yet so we better get started! I'm excited to try your home made recipe. How long does it keep?
    PS. I know and love the brand of pajamas X and S are often wearing in your photos. Wonderful!!

    1. It keeps for at least 4-6 months. If you add scent we find that the scent fades a bit after the first month, but we've never had problems with mold or anything - mostly it just gets a bit stickier than we'd like - and then we compost it!

      Oh, we are soooo addicted to Hanna Andersson pajamas! I love that they can match - we buy them identical Xmas pajamas every year. :)


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