Play dough is one of our all-time favorite play materials. It’s great for children of all ages and provides a sensory play experience that can be adapted in so many different ways to encourage lots of learning. It lends itself well to exploring many aspects of math – through number recognition, counting, shape exploration and  construction. NurtureStore has a free Let’s Play Dough e-book that’s got some great, easy-to-make play dough recipes in, so why not mix up a batch and try out these ideas for fun play dough math play.

Math: Counting

1. Try QuirkyMomma’s tip of combining stencils with play dough to make a set up numbers – then use them to make maths problems. 2. Or you could use NurtureStore’s basic recipe and make a set of numbers you can really eat. 3. Creativity My Passion shows you how to make a simple dry erase mat, which you can use to draw numbers then add play dough to make a 3-D version on top. Tracing these numbers is a great way for tactile learners to get to know their digits. 4. Teach Preschool has a fun idea for gumball counting, which works on number recognition and fine motor skills. 5. And you can find another take on matching doh and numbers over at Pre-Kinders where there is a free Feed The Giraffe   mat download. 6. Every child likes to count how old they are and The Golden Gleam’s idea of pretend birthday cakes and candles lets you role play a party any day of the year. 7. The play dough sweet shop over at The Imagination Tree is ever so pretty but also invites children to play around with math ideas, as they count lolly pops, fill and empty jars and buy and sell the goodies in the store.

Play Dough Math: Shapes

8. Math isn’t just about counting of course, and play dough is a great way to explore shapes. Try this idea for chocolate dough mixed with a chocolate box and you can have lots of fun exploring different shapes and sizes. 9. Or take some toothpicks and test out how you can make and combine different shapes to create super structures. 10.Your turn now. What’s your favorite way to mix in some math with your play dough games? Leave a comment and share your best idea with us.

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  1. I use playdoh to give students the opportunity to create fractions. They practice cutting playdoh into halves, thirds and fourths. I give them simple word problems and let them act it out to get an answer. “If Suzy has a pizza with 10 slices and Jacob eats 5, what fraction of the pizza did he eat?” Etc

  2. More fantastic play dough ideas from Kid’s Activities. Thanks! (I’m going to link this to the new play dough linky at Preschool Universe)

  3. Great suggestions on how to use play dough and in fact integrating math concepts!
    With one of my classes (a long time ago) I had the grade 1 kids write a story and than, they illustrated the story with play dough. It was quite nice.

  4. Tickled that you included my idea amongst so many other great ideas! I am going to pin this to my Math Play Pinterest board.

  5. Thanks for the feature cathy and It’s wonderful roundup of play dough math. The play dough 3d using toothpicks is my favorite

  6. I’ve been wanting to do some number/ math activities with my 2 year-old. He loves to play with play doh so we will give this a try.