Today we are doing a playdough letters activity! Let’s make pre-writing fun by learning with playdough! Pre-writing activities are an important bridge between learning the alphabet and good handwriting for preschoolers, Kindergartners and even 1st graders. If your kids love playdough, these fun play doh alphabet activities are the perfect easy ideas for learning and pre-writing practice to use at home or in the classroom.

Pre-writing activities for kids with play doh - kids making letters using playdough with cookie cutters, tools, and straws shown on brightly colored play doh circles on a white background - Kids Activities Blog
Make letters using playdough and fun tools like cookie cutters and straws.

How to MAKE LETTERS with playdough

Add an educational twist to your kids playing with playdough by incorporating these pre-writing activities using various tools.

Related: Best play dough recipe, Alphabet Tracing Worksheets for Beginning Writers, 91 Educational Websites Offering Free Online Learning for Kids, & Does Your Child Reverse Letters p and q? Grab a Free p and q Reversal Worksheets Activity Pack!

supplies needed for alphabet learning with playdough including cookie cutters, playdough tools, and straws.
You will need playdough, tools, straws, and cookie cutters to make playdough letters.

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Supplies needed for Pre-Writing Activities with Play Doh

Our favorite tool to use with play dough is drinking straws. Sticking the straws into the playdough is a great sensory activity, and kids can make some pretty interesting creations this way.

Instructions for Pre-Writing play dough letters

First, use a roller to flatten out a piece of playdough on a flat surface. Now, let’s go through three different fun ways they can use the playdough to make letters or words.

1. Letter Cutting into Play Dough

Pre-writing activities - letters made in playdough using cookie cutters
Make playdough letters using cookie cutters.

Use cookie cutters of various sizes including uppercase and lower case to cut out letters. The kids can then move them around to make easy words including their name.

2. Writing Playdough Letters with Tools

Pre-writing activities - make letters made in playdough using clay tools
Make letters in playdough using playdough or clay tools.

Use playdough or clay plastic tools to make letters in the flattened playdough. You might want to draw the letter first on a piece of paper so your child can try to copy it.

3. Playdough Letters with Straws

Pre-writing activities - letters made in playdough by cutting straws and sticking them into the playdough.
Use straws to make letters in playdough.
  1. Cut straws to about one inch in length. If they are much longer they will be too easy to knock over, and your child will have a difficult time getting his or her hand into the area.
  2. Show your child how to insert the straws.

Craft tip: For younger kids, you can use the playdough where the letter was made using tools and push the straws into the playdough over the top of each letter.

If you push the straws deeply enough you will have a fun, lacy pattern on the back of the playdough after they are removed.

Our Experience With These playdough letters activity

My kids LOVE playdough. And so I wanted to figure out how to make playdough educational. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a sensory activity. However, I wanted it to be more. And that’s how this playdough letters activity came to life. I saw the letter magnets on the fridge and thought… hmm.

My kids loved this playdough letters activity. They cut out different letters and spelled little words and even their names! And the other activities like the straws and writing the letters in the playdough also helps with letter recognition and fine motor skills!

Yield: 10

Making Letters With Playdough

kids making letters using playdough with cookie cutters, tools, and straws

Use playdough and various tools as pre-writing activities for kids to make playdough letters.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $10


  • Playdough
  • Cookie cutters
  • Straws
  • Playdough or clay tools


  • Scissors


  1. Use tools such as cookie cutters, playdough tools, and straws as pre-writing tools to make letters in playdough.


Make sure to cut the straws into 1-inch pieces for little fingers to handle, it will make it so much easier for them.

My kids love activities with drinking straws. Previously, we’ve combined drinking straws with liquid glue to make sun catchers. My kids have had fun sticking them in my hair for a crazy up-do.


More Letter And Writing Activities From Kids Activities Blog

Have you used playdough as a learning tool like our pre-writing activities? What other items have you used with playdough?

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