Let’s Play-Doh!

Ah, Play-Doh! The toy that kids love and parents love to hate. Since the 1950s, Play-Doh has been a favorite modeling clay for construction, pretend play, and learning. However, while marketed as a toy, Play-Doh benefits go far beyond making bright pink spaghetti.


Where Does Play-Doh Come From?

Play-Doh was first developed in the 1930s by the McVicker family soap company Kutol Products. However, it was invented as a product to clean wallpaper and was very popular. It was non-toxic, it didn’t stain the wallpaper, and it could be reused.

No one will be surprised to learn that teachers were the ones that discovered the amazing Play-Doh benefits that went beyond cleaning wallpaper. They quickly realized that it was an excellent modeling clay that allowed kids to use their fine motor skills to make and remake designs as often as they wanted. Teachers also realized they could leave their kids’ creations out overnight, and it would dry while holding its shape.


Why is Play-Doh So Great for Kids?

When most parents think of Play-Doh, they imagine a giant mess. While kids are still in their preschool years, the odds of Play-Doh ending up in their hair, carpet, or on random pieces of furniture is unbelievably high. Yet, despite the mess, Play-Doh benefits kids by being amazing for fine motor skill development.

Play-Doh is malleable, making it ideal for tiny fingers to squeeze and manipulate. In addition, the smushing, flattening, rolling, and poking of Play-Doh benefits the development of the muscles in their tiny fingers. This strength-building prepares their hands for the fine motor skills necessary for holding a pencil and using scissors.


Why Do We Need Fine Motor Skills?

In addition to the Play-Doh benefits for school-age children, these fine motor skills help us in everyday life. For example, buttoning, zipping, texting, using utensils, and even petting a dog require fine motor skills that we develop as babies and toddlers. Therefore, encouraging the strengthening of these muscles from a young age is so important.

The best part of Play-Doh is the development of essential muscles during play-based learning. Child-led learning based on creativity stretches their imagination and is fun for kids, but it’s equally fun for adults to watch.


You Can Make Play-Doh!

Yes, you can make your own Play-Doh at home! Making Play-Doh takes learning and playing to the next level. Pouring, stirring, and measuring are all crucial skills for children to learn. Plus, using their fine motor skills to mix ingredients and then divide dough is excellent practice for their hands and minds.

The best news? No baking is involved!



  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Water (hot water will help dissolve the salt)
  • Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 Tbs Vegetable Oil
  • Food Coloring/Kool-Aid Packets



  1. Combine flour and salt.
  2. Add water, food coloring, and vegetable oil. Mix until combined.
  3. Knead well.
  4. Add additional flour if the consistency is too wet.


It’s Time to Play-Doh!

Who knew building muscles could be so fun? Spend an afternoon in the kitchen with your littles learning how to make Play-Doh together. Then, continue to enjoy working on those fine motor skills by making silly and creative designs. Happy playing!