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Playdough and stick shapes fun

What you need

  • Some playdough- why not try our recipe to make some of your own
  • Sticks, either collected outdoors or wooden lolly sticks.


Your child will get to explore shape and space, developing their mathematical vocabulary and critical thinking skills.

The experience

Prepare an area such as table space for your child to explore. You will need a small amount of playdough and your sticks. 

Model to your child how they can use the sticks to create different shapes, using their playdough to stick the sticks together. For example you could put four small pieces of playdough creating a square shape, with a piece in each corner. Your child then takes the sticks and presses them down into the dough, creating the stick shape. 

Younger children will enjoy watching you and taking notice of what you are doing with your own sticks and dough (sit facing opposite them and model how you could use the materials). Handling the sticks and moving them around will be developing their awareness of shape and space. 

Older children could be challenged to make a particular shape, or create a triangle that is smaller than yours, or a large square, increasing mathematical language. Throw in challenges such as making a circle, and see how long your child will attempt to do this before realising they cannot with straight sticks. Ask them why they don’t think it works? This will encourage lots of critical thinking.