Literacy Centers 101: Playdough Center

Sorry for the lack of posting, everyone.  I have been super busy these past few days with...well...a bit of everything!
And the fact that it's summertime means I have no clue as to what day it is (every day is Saturday, right?) so I don't even remember the last time I posted about my Literacy Centers. Sorry!
Anyways, on to the good stuff.
My first year teaching I remember my colleagues discussing various recipes for home made playdough.  You have to picture this...a twenty something girl straight out of Teacher's College thinking "What in the world are they talking about?"

Well, 2 kids and 8 years of teaching Kindergarten later...boy, can I hold a conversation about playdough!
That being said, every year, before it's back to school time, I whip up a batch of playdough.  We usually use it sometime the first week.
I love putting playdough out because, after you explain how you don't eat it, put it up your nose, put it on someone else or on the floor, kids are pretty independent about using it.

I run a Playdough Club with my parents (those who want to participate) throughout the year.  I have a post on that here if you want to read about it and pick up your free copy of the letter to start your own Playdough Club.
Basically, the parents are assigned to make playdough and bring it in to the class a few times per year, depending on how many sign up.
I include a recipe on the form too.

When my students are at the Playdough Center there's LOTS to do!
I have a bunch of various cookie cutters, rolling pins and alphabet stampers like these in the picture below from Lakeshore.
I also like to put out my Playdough mats.
I created these a while ago because I found that sometimes there really was no direction at this center.  That's okay too - I like kids using their imagination BUT I don't like when it turns into arguments and fighting.
They can choose a mat and have fun with that.
There are various mats that rotate throughout the year:  alphabet and numbers in the beginning and word families and counting skills the further into the year we go.  I even made CVC word mats so that students can not only form the letter but figure out what letter the word is missing.
I teach them to "roll out little long snakes" and turn those snakes into letters, balls, shapes, etc.
The kids are really good at this once they get the hang of it!
Playdough is almost always a center each week.  I love that it helps with fine motor skills and kids are learning something at the same time.
How do you use playdough in your classroom?

I am so happy to announce that these past few weeks I have teamed up with Tanya Solano of Ms. Solano's Kindergarten and we have just posted our new unit...
Click on the picture to check it out!
It's FULL of so many centers that your little ones will be keeping busy those first few weeks of school while having so much fun!


  1. Hi~
    What a great idea about a playdough club! Love it! I do have a question about the there a recipe that you suggest that works best? I have one, but I don't think that it works so well.
    Love the new packet!

  2. Hi Robyn,

    There is a recipe I like to use with Kool-Aid (it smells so good!). Click the link above to read my post on the Playdough Club and on one of the downloads (letter to parents) you will find the recipe.


  3. Hi again, Alessia~
    Thanks so very much for the reply. I went to the post, and printed out both copies of the letter for my upcoming school year!
    Thank you very much for such a cute, and fantastic idea! Love it!
    Thanks, again!

  4. LOVE IT! I get so sick of making playdough! This is a GREAT idea!

  5. Love these! I will be buying both very soon! Can't wait!


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