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Learn shapes and fine motor skills with playdough

Shapes and playdough seem like such a great combination, right? Playing with something fun like playdough all while learning about shapes!

I knew it was a winning combination and thus, the shape playdough mats were created! They’re great for open-ended play or more directed learning.

There are so many great ways to learn about and work on learning about shapes. We love using playdough but another great method (especially for kids wanting less sensory input) is using shape dot marker printables!

square image of playdough mat

We don’t make play dough often, so when we do it’s a big hit.  We play with it every day for hours on end…until it goes away for a bit again.  Of course, I have to incorporate some educational activities into the mix when we play!

When it comes to learning shapes, there is nothing like learning them in a hands-on way.  Honestly, there’s just not that much to a shape!  There’s only so many times of saying “This is a square” before it gets boring!  Luckily, there are many great ideas for practicing shapes.  I love play dough because it works on fine motor skills at the same time, and we all know that killing two birds with one stone is better.  Efficiency is key!

Before I continue, can we just stand in awe at how beautiful these colors turned out?  Just regular food coloring!  Love it.

Do you need a good playdough recipe?

I love to just buy playdough sometimes but making your own is also fun and easy. And you can make some really soft and smooth playdough on your own!

These are my favorite recipes to make for homemade playdough:

playdough mat with balls of playdough

We did some simple rolling and voila, playdough shapes.  There are 4 pages with all kinds of shapes!  And they can be used for more than just playdough!  No reason someone couldn’t trace them, decorate them, etc.

Learning About Shapes

Learning to identify shapes is often one of the first math related skills our kids learn.

It’s important for kids to learn about shapes.

  • Foundational Skills: Learning shapes forms the basis for various cognitive abilities.
  • Spatial Awareness: Understanding shapes enhances spatial perception and navigation skills.
  • Mathematical Foundations: Shape recognition introduces children to basic mathematical concepts such as geometry and measurement.
  • Critical Thinking: Mastering shapes fosters problem-solving skills essential for academic and real-world challenges.
  • Creativity: Shapes provide a platform for artistic expression and design exploration.
  • Confidence Building: Proficiency in shapes empowers children to interact with their environment confidently.

By mastering shapes, children not only develop essential academic skills but also lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning and exploration.

Activities and art projects like this Painting With Circles is a great way to reinforce their shape knowledge!

5 ways to use the Shape Playdough Mats

  • Use playdough to turn the shapes into real objects (triangle could be a slice of pizza, the square could be a book, etc)
  • Decorate the playdough shapes with crafty items – pom poms, glitter, sequins, etc
  • Use a finger to squish the playdough shapes down
  • Make a playdough shape tower
  • Fill the shapes with something else – mini erasers, crayons, etc.

Why is Playdough so Great for Preschool?

Working with playdough is a great way to work on fine motor skills! Manipulating the dough strengthens those muscles and can lead to better control over their hands. And all of that is great for preschoolers who will be expected to learn to write before long.

Plus, it’s a fun way to practice fine motor skills! We could just have kids write and draw all day (and some would love that) but many kids need to practice in a way they think of fun.

My kids as preschoolers, and even now as older kids, loved to play with playdough. They could have created with it all day.

Shapes made out of playdough

Looking for more playdough shape fun? Don’t miss the Santa themed shape set!

Printable Shapes playdough Mat

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    1. The stamps we use aren’t really meant for ink stamping, they’re more like these:
      Except ours are actually meant for clay. We bought them at Micheals but I cannot find a link to what we have exactly.

      They are very easy to clean though! As long as we get all the play dough out before it dries.

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