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How to use playdough with very young babies

What you need

Playdough, rolling pin, cookie cutter (any shape). If you don’t have any playdough, you can follow this link to one of our previous blog posts which will show you how you can make your own at home.


Playdough exploration provides important opportunities for the development of fine motor skills (such as pushing, squishing, squeezing, and pinching). And, as many early years educators know, it provides an excellent outlet for releasing tension and stress. It is calming to children!

The experience

At this age, children are at ‘The Discovery Stage’ when playing with playdough! Get a nice big ball of playdough and find a clear flat surface. Sit your baby either on your lap facing away from you, or next to you on the floor or chair. 

Whilst talking through what you’re doing, encourage your baby to squeeze and pinch the ball. Model it by doing it yourself. Can they grab a fist of playdough and squish it so it comes off in their hand? Try rolling the ball around the table together – put your hands over theirs to do this – they will soon follow your lead! Can they roll it around by themselves? Roll the ball of playdough away from both of you and then gently roll it back. Push the playdough together onto the surface to make a pancake, with your support, let baby press a cookie cutter into the playdough – pile or stack the shapes/clumps. 

Your baby will enjoy poking the shapes or even pounding and hitting the playdough with their hands. Focus on the manipulation and exploration of the playdough for the sheer pleasure of it. Talk about how the playdough feels, the shapes that you’ve made – or even animals if you have animals cutters or a flair for modelling! At this age and stage you will need to supervise playdough play as your baby will still be enjoying oral exploration!