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.

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.

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