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Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File

Fun play dough mats, great for developing fine motor skills and academic skills, in the primary classroom. Playdough activities and resources for morning bins and centers. Plus a free play dough mat!

Fun play dough mats, great for developing fine motor skills and academic skills, in the primary classroom. Playdough activities and resources for morning bins and centers. Plus a free play dough mat!

Playing with playdough is loads of fun for kids of all ages and may be one of those favorite things in kindergarten and first grade! Plus, there are so many benefits to having playdough centers in your classroom! 

Let’s take a look at the perks of playdough…Learning with playdough helps kids get rid of excess energy! It helps them focus better because of that released energy. The very act of manipulating playdough into sight words and different shapes helps kids retain knowledge of whatever they’re working on too. 

Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 1

Finding fun dough play centers that also reinforce math and literacy skills makes all the difference in the world. In this blog post, I will share a few playdough recipes and some playdough activities that will make your dough centers a hit! They’re such an easy way to add variety to your centers.

Therapeutic Benefits of Playdough Centers

There is something SO therapeutic about squishing and touching this magical dough into different shapes. In fact, this is one of the recommended mediums for people with certain types of sensory processing disorders. Additionally, sensory experience play like this is a perfect way to improve hand strength. The active learning that takes place with playdough is the perfect addition to your centers when you’re looking to develop fine motor skills. Yes, the very same fine motor skills that build those handwriting muscles.

How Do You Make Play Dough?

After a little searching, and reading reviews from others, this is the play dough recipe that I used:

  • 2 cups of salt
  • 1 1/2 TBSP of cream of tartar
  • 3 1/5 cups of flour

mix those together… then add

  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 5 TBSP of oil

I mixed and kneaded the dough until it was smooth. Then I divided the play dough into 3 parts and added food coloring. It takes a little time and effort but it will be a huge hit with your students and help you save your classroom budget.

How do you make playdough?

How Do You Make EDIBLE Play Dough?

I did a little more searching… then became hungry… then went back and searched again! 

Here are a few of the edible homemade playdough recipes that I found. These recipes seemed to work well for others too! 

How Do You Make SCENTED Play Dough?

I am a hoarder of candles, so naturally scented play dough is appealing to me! Here are a few scented playdough recipes you could try:

Play Dough Play Centers

So now that you have the dough… what do you do with it? This is when kids get to have fun! They absolutely love these sensory experiences for learning! 

Maybe you’re trying to combine play and learning? This is one of my favorite ways to teach. Play and learning go hand-in-hand. In my view, every lesson or activity should have an element of play in it. Kindergarten… first grade… fifth grade. The fun is the engagement hook we all crave! 

Just look at the fun alphabet playdough mats below!

Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 2
alphabet recognition and letter formation play dough mats
alphabet recognition and letter formation play dough mats

Play Dough Play Centers and Literacy Ideas: Sight Word Centers

Working with playdough is a fun way to make, learn, and remember sight words.

Sight word play dough mat

Play Dough Literacy Mats: Fun Themes!

These are my newest dough, themed mats and they are so stinkin’ cute! These printable mats are so much fun and are perfect for practicing sentence writing in addition to sensory play. Make sure to add these to your lesson plans for your literacy centers!

Themed play dough mats are great for student choice!
Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 3

If you have friends that aren’t quite ready for sentence writing, you can use these mats where students can trace each letter in the word.

Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 4
Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 5
Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 6

Play Dough Play Mats and Math Centers: Numerals

Practicing numeral formations is also a great way to work on math skills with playdough. I love this little chunk-it-out method for #3. Hehehe! 

Think of the dough as the carrot! Younger children will be engaged because of the novelty of having number playdough mats to work with! At the same time, they are improving those important fine motor skills!

number formation play dough mats

Students can also practice making numbers up to 10. As well as, addition and subtraction!

Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 7

Play Dough Play Mats and Math Centers: Shapes

Play dough can also be used to form 2D and 3D shapes. Some of the important skills in this playdough center include counting, addition, and subtraction. You’ll get big time engagement with this great activity that focuses on basic shapes.

Academic Play Dough Mats for Centers and a Free File 8

Where Can I Get These Play Dough Mats?

math and literacy play dough mats

 The math and literacy set that includes the alphabet mats with letter formation and letter sounds, sight words, number formation, counting, shapes can be found here:

Themed play dough mats for the entire year

If you love the themed mats that include themes for the entire year, click this link:

Best Ways to Start Centers

If you haven’t started using centers in your classroom yet, and the playdough mats seem like a great way to start, here’s the best way to start running centers! 

Best Ways to Manage and Run Centers

By the way, if you’re feeling intimidated to implement these centers, and you need info on the best way to run centers in your classroom, click here!

Free Playdough Mats

You can download these free printable play dough mats that are perfect for Spring! Simply, add your name and email address to the box below. School firewalls can block these free files, so check your spam folder! 

 
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Fun play dough mats, great for developing fine motor skills and academic skills, in the primary classroom. Playdough activities and resources for morning bins and centers. Plus a free play dough mat!

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Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!
 

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