Playdoh: Not Just a Children’s Game

Playdoh is a versatile toy that children of many ages can enjoy. It has a lot of motoric benefits (ask your OT) but it also brings amazing opportunities to develop language skills.


Below are some examples of language structures you can build while playing playdoh with your child

Develop concepts/ descriptive vocabulary

Big/small, e.g. make big or small balls

Colours e.g. name the colours of the playdoh you use or make a rainbow

Long/short/ thick/thin e.g. make long and short; thick or thin snakes

Shapes – make shapes or use cutters

-Full/empty – e.g. talk about whether the container is full of playdoh or is it empty

Position words: put playdoh out of the box/in the box; put the toppings on the pizza/ hide some under the table; place cut up next to each other…don’t forget between, behind, in front of, on the side, in the middle etc.

Time concepts: before, after, at the same times, when e.g. before you put the nose on the face, put the eyes; after, at the same time

Social skills

-Joint attention: Playdoh is a great activity to focus on the same ‘project’ and add/modify what others have done.

Take turns cutting/using the accessories

Request what you need (Can I have…./ I want…..) and reject if you don’t want something (I don’t want…..)

Emotions: Make happy, sad or angry faces and talk about why or when you feel like this

Early literacy

In learning literacy multisensory approach was shown to be beneficial, especially for struggling learners

-Shape the playdoh to form letters and say the sound they make, e.g. the letter B says b…b…b.

– Colour code the letters e.g. vowels (a,e,i,o,u) and consonants

-Sequence the letters to spell simple words.

Follow Directions

Playing with playdoh, you can make each direction as simple or as complex as your child needs

It can be as simple as ‘’make a ball’’ and as complex as “Put red circle tomatoes on the pizza after you put the cut-up yellow cheese, then put short green sausages next to it”

Ask and answer questions

There are many different types of questions. You can ask the question and model different answers until your child can answer by himself. Then, you can encourage them to ask you some questions (you may need to give some examples)

  • Yes/No: Do you want the red playdoh?
  • What: What’s this? What are you doing?
  • Where: Where is the….. (good when working on position words)
  • When: When can we put the nose (good when working on before/after)
  • Who: Who is going to make the longest snake?
  • How: How to you make a snail?
  • Why: Why did you put the reed ball in the middle?
  • Can: Can I have some of your playdoh?
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