Educational Activities Celebrating National Play Doh Day

Five Educational Activities Celebrating
National Play Doh Day

It’s a little known fact, but today is National Play-Doh Day. There seems to be a day for everything, but this day sounded like fun. So, we celebrated it with some homemade Play-Doh. I found a recipe from the Artful Parent that looked quick and easy.  (Click on the link for the recipe). It turned out really well, but I had to add A LOT more flour while I was kneading the dough. We planned a lot of Play Doh sessions with my variously aged children, and each session had an educational objective.

Five Educational Activities Celebrating National Play Doh Day |
Here’s how we celebrated National Play Doh Day.

Color Recognition

My preschooler helped me mix and measure the ingredients to make the dough. We decided to double the recipe so there would be enough for everyone to play with later on. (By the way, we are now out of salt and cream of tartar – until our shopping trip.)

Working together |
We’re just starting to make the Play Doh. She’s a little ham, isn’t she?

After everything was mixed together, we divided the dough into thirds. I originally planned on making the primary colors. I talked with my preschooler about how the primary colors work to make all the other colors.

Mixing the dough |
Mixing the dough and the food coloring together.

Apparently I was out of blue food coloring, so we settled for pink, yellow, and green. We had to let the dough rest a bit before Mommy could knead it. But after the kneading was finished it was time to play, play, play.

The resting dough |
The dough was tired from its mixing, so it had to rest before it could be kneaded.

Letter Recognition

The preschooler and baby were the first to play with the concoction. We got out my set of letter cookie cutters and worked on letter recognition with the preschooler. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out how many letters she could name. She would say things like now I need a B, S, K, etc. Then she would correctly grab the cookie cutter she was looking for. I also asked her what letter I was holding up. She got them right with some frequency.

Letter Recognition |
We worked on identifying letters using the Play Doh and cookie cutters.

We let the baby play with the dough too. And mostly, we worked with the baby teaching her to NOT eat the Play Doh. (Although it’s completely edible—it just doesn’t taste that great!) After more than an hour, both kids were done with the Play Doh experience. Everything got cleaned up and put away for the next group of kids.

Don't eat the Play Doh |
Please, please, don’t eat the Play Doh!

Letter Creation

After lunch, my Kindergartener was home from school! Oh boy, was I excited to let him loose with the Play Doh! And I had planned an activity to reinforce the letters he was working on at school. First, before I let him just play with the Play Doh, I had him make each of the letters he’d learned so far.Then I had him “write” out his name with the Play Doh. He did great with both activities, and was even able to use the proper case for each letter in his name.

Letter Creation |
Here, the Kindergartener practices forming the letters using Play Doh snakes.

Then, it was time to just play with the dough. Cookie cutters, pounding, and squishing abounded. Again, we worked with the baby to not eat the Play Doh. Again, an hour later everyone was finished and we cleaned up and waited for the next round.

When my second grader and fourth grader got home from school, my other three were Play Doh-ed out. So, we let them watch “Green Eggs and Ham” while the big kids got to use the Play Doh.

Spelling Practice

Spelling with Play Doh |
My second grader makes each letter for his spelling words with Play Doh and cookie cutters.

My second grader has a hard time with spelling, just like his Mom. I asked him to “write” his spelling words, using the cookie cutters and the Play Doh. Searching for each letter helps to keep the letter in his mind longer, which – I hope – will help the entire sequence of letters stay in his mind longer, too.

Sensory Relaxation

Relaxing with Play Doh |
The feel of the Play Doh helps my fourth grader relax from a day at school.

I really didn’t have an educational objective for my fourth grader, per se, just more of a sensory relaxation moment. She needs mental and social downtime after school. So, I just let her play with the Play Doh. I let her squeeze, squish, and shape the Play Doh anyway she wanted. It became a moment for her to just relax and enjoy herself.

According to the National Day Calendar, Play Doh was originally invented as a wall paper cleaner, but was found to have better educational applications.

Happy National Play Doh Day, everyone! Did you do anything to celebrate?


  1. So cool! We haven’t made home made play dough in a long time. But my 3yr plays with the store bought kind almost daily! I’m so glad she loves it and doesn’t eat it any more! (It was a BIG problem for a long time.) I’ll share a secret with you though, ever since I was a kid, I’ve always hated the smell! I didn’t like it much as a kid because of that, and I still have a hard time with it. Especially when my kids make me “cookies” and “pies” and I have to bring it close to my face and smell it. :/ I think it’s the cream of tarter. But I love you using it for spelling! I have been debating buying the alphabet cookie cutters for a while, I think I might and try this with my confused spellers! Well done!


    1. Judy, I’m so glad you liked my idea! You always have such fantastic ideas on your blog. (I’m with you on the smell of Play Doh, too, but we eat it anyway) I wish you luck with all your adventures. Thanks for coming by and commenting. :)


  2. We played with Play dough by default. I did not even know it was National Play Dough Day! I love your post about all the wonderful things you can do with play dough. It looks like your children had a great celebration!


    1. Welcome to the celebration, by default or not. :) I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for coming by and commenting.


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