Play-Doh Games – Maths Basic Subtraction for Kids

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Play-Doh, the iconic colourful moulding compound, has been a beloved toy for children since it was first invented in the 1950s. Over 3 billion cans have been sold worldwide, and Play-Doh continues to be a top toy choice for kids ages 2-8.

Play-Doh is appealing for a variety of developmental reasons. Child psychology experts say playing with Play-Doh promotes fine motor skills, creativity, imagination, focus and sensory stimulation. The non-toxic, wheat-based compound is safe and mess-free, making Play-Doh a parent-approved activity.

With just a few tools and endless creativity, Play-Doh offers hours of open-ended play. From crafting imaginary worlds to honing fine motor skills, read on for 10 fun Play-Doh games and activities to keep kids laughing and learning.

A fun and interactive Maths video featuring a Play-Doh game as a resource. Use Play-Doh for kids to create a ‘Subtraction Splat’ game that your child will enjoy playing repeatedly. A great way to practice basic subtraction is by using practical, hands-on resources that allow your child to visualise and actively understand this mathematical concept.

Play-Doh numbers games for kids.

Use Play-Doh games to help your child learn to write, form, understand and work with numbers.

Learn with Play Doh – Math Games for Kids – How to Add?

Are you wondering about the lessons that could be taught by using Play-Doh? You could teach your kids several lessons while letting them play with Play-Doh: those related to maths, those related to English and the alphabet. As Michelle has done in this video, it could be about creating patterns and paying attention to direction.

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You might even be one of those who faced some difficulties while trying to tell which is the right direction and which is left when you were a kid, and that might be the same struggle that your kids are dealing with these days. Playing sometimes allows children to learn something new, but you should choose the right game or the suitable toy to reach this point.

Play-doh is one of the kids’ favourite toys which they love to play with and make different shapes, and this is one great opportunity for all the parents out there to use play-doh to support the kids in the learning process they want to follow as a part of the homeschooling journey. In this video, play-doh is the primary tool used in the lesson, but other ones are included: a Lego piece, a minor toy character and a block or stamp.

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Michelle’s primary goal in this video is to teach Aaron and make him good at creating a pattern and, simultaneously, knowing more about directions. Michelle asked Aaron first to use two different tools and make a pattern on the Play-Doh, and then she gave him permission to use a third tool and make another pattern. Aaron learnt about patterns, i.e. using the tools in the same order, and that is why it is always important to pay attention to see whether the child is really making a pattern or just playing around.

When you are watching your kid creating this pattern, build a conversation with him and ask about the tools he will use, what he will make, what the pattern will look like, etc., because this will give him more space to think and share his thoughts with you.

There are different educational videos and resources you could find on our channel, LearningMole, that will give you ideas about the lessons you could teach your kid by using Play-Doh – sometimes adding other tools to it as we have done in this video. We have used Play-Doh to teach the kids how to count, which can be viewed through the following link . We have also tried to play games that would include counting but not in a direct way; you could also see it through this link (   • Learning Numbers …  ).

You could use play doh in different ways, and in teaching the kids to do several things, you could use it to let them count numbers, you could use it also to let them learn to write down these numbers, you could use it to build shapes with them, and you could also use it to teach them letters by also letting them do the shapes of the letters. We have tried this before by letting James do numbers with the Play-Doh, and it was a successful and exciting technique for him.

It is always essential to use the games and toys that the kids have at home to teach them something because this would always make the teaching process much more enjoyable for them and make them want to know and learn more. Homeschooling is one thing parents are following nowadays to a great extent for a certain age. For them to succeed at it, they should find the right educational resources to support them, and here we have many of the things you might be searching for.

Always make sure to be part of the lesson you are giving your child and give them a chance to ask and question you, but always make sure that they know the answer to their questions and are not just imposing them for the sake of playing – trick them through it. If you have any questions, send them over, and we will be very excited to offer you our help! Hopefully, you enjoyed our Play-Doh Games – perfect for any child from 3 to 5 years old to older!

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Play-Doh Games – Maths Basic Subtraction for Kids

Play-Doh Games – Benefits of Playing Play-Doh

Playing with Play-Doh has many benefits for children, including:

  • Fine motor skills development: Play-Doh helps children develop fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, agility, and finger strength.
  • Creativity development: Play-Doh encourages children to be creative and imaginative. They can use Play-Doh to create anything, from animals and food to vehicles and buildings.
  • Problem-solving skills development: Play-Doh helps children develop their problem-solving skills. For example, if they are trying to make a Play-Doh animal, they may have to figure out how to shape it into the right shape.
  • Sensory development: Playing with Play-Doh can be a sensory experience for children. They can feel the different textures of the Play-Doh and smell the different scents of the Play-Doh.

Additional Play-Doh Games:

  • Play-Doh Hair Salon – Let kids snip, style and decorate crazy Play-Doh hairdos. Use a dough roll as the “hair”, and have fun styling it with kid-safe scissors, rollers, combs and more.
  • Play-Doh Stamping – Make homemade stamps by glueing buttons, blocks, bottle caps or other items to blocks of wood. Dip stamps in Play-Doh and press them into dough to make prints and patterns.
  • Play-Doh Puzzle Play – Flatten dough into a rectangle. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut shapes. Then, challenge the kids to put the Play-Doh puzzle back together.
  • DIY Play-Doh Mat – Cover a table or tray with parchment paper. Seal edges with masking tape. Let kids flatten, cut and stamp dough directly on the mat. When done, lift the paper and discard excess dough.
  • Play-Doh Numbers and Letters – Roll dough into coil snakes, then shape into letters and numbers. Use alphabet and number cookie cutters, too. Talk through each shape, building literacy skills.
  • Outdoor Play-Doh – On a warm day, take Play-Doh outside for sensory, squishy fun. Hide small toys in the dough and have kids dig them out.
  • Play-Doh Spaghetti – Give play kitchens a workout by rolling dough into “noodles” and using scissors to cut them. Make meatballs from tiny balls of Play-Doh. Reuse again and again.
  • Play-Doh Sorting – Make dough in two or more colors. Roll into coil snakes, small balls or other shapes. Provide cups, plates or muffin tins. Have kids sort the Play-Doh items by colour, shape or other attributes.
  • Play-Doh Spin Art – Place dough in a pie tin. Use a toothpick to swirl and mix colours. Carefully press the tip of the paper down on the dough, then lift it to reveal a spin art print.
  • Play-Doh Sculpting – Craft tiny dough creatures, characters from books, favourite foods and more. Toothpicks, knitting needles, garlic press and shape cutters add detail.
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Specific Instructions for the “Play-Doh Animals” Games

Materials needed:

  • Play-Doh in a variety of colours
  • Rolling pin
  • Play-Doh knives or other shaping tools
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Amazon is an excellent source of Play-Doh Kits or anyone’s kitchen!

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Choose a colour of Play-Doh for the body of your animal.
  2. Roll the Play-Doh into a ball.
  3. Use your fingers or a Play-Doh knife to shape the ball into your animal’s body.
  4. Add details to your animal, such as legs, ears, and eyes. You can use Play-Doh knives, other shaping tools, or googly eyes to add these details.
  5. Let your animal dry completely before playing with it.

Troubleshooting tips:

  • If your Play-Doh is too sticky, add a little cornstarch to it.
  • If your Play-Doh is too dry, add a little water to it.
  • If you make a mistake, roll the Play-Doh into a ball and start over.

Play-Doh Games – Different Types of Play-Doh

There are many different types of Play-Doh available, including:

  • Basic Play-Doh: This is the most common type of Play-Doh. It comes in various colours and can create anything a child can imagine.
  • Scented Play-Doh: This type of Play-Doh has a variety of scents, such as fruit, flowers, and baked goods.
  • Glitter Play-Doh: This type of Play-Doh contains glitter, which gives it a sparkly effect.
  • Glow-in-the-dark Play-Doh: This type of Play-Doh glows in the dark, making it a fun activity for nighttime play.
  • Play-Doh sets: There are also many Play-Doh sets available, such as sets that include tools for making Play-Doh animals, food, or vehicles.

Play-Doh Games – the best way to have fun and learn

Click these links for more educational lessons and videos in Maths, English, Crafts and Cooking. LearningMole focuses on educating children of all ages. We offer advice and practical, interactive ideas to help parents challenge, homeschool, teach and develop their children’s skills at home.

Help your child to explore the critical concepts of numbers, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in Maths—spelling, reading, writing and grammar in English. Help them to develop their imagination and creativity with crafts and to explore a range of skills to cook, bake and create tasty treats and snacks.

Play-Doh Games – Safety

Play-Doh is generally safe for children to play with, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Supervise young children: Young children should always be supervised when playing with Play-Doh to prevent them from choking on it.
  • Clean up messes: Clean up any Play-Doh messes immediately to prevent them from drying out and becoming difficult to remove.
  • Store Play-Doh properly: Store Play-Doh in an airtight container to prevent drying.

Play-Doh Games – Storing and Cleaning Play-Doh:

  • Store Play-Doh in an airtight plastic container or resealable bag after each use to avoid drying dough. Smooth and flatten the dough before storing it to remove air pockets.
  • Play-Doh can be stored in the refrigerator to extend its use. Allow refrigerated dough to come to room temperature before playing to increase flexibility.
  • If Play-Doh does dry out, add a few drops of water and knead until smooth again.
  • For stuck-on Play-Doh, allow dough to dry thoroughly, then brush or peel off surfaces. Soaking in warm, soapy water can also help remove dried Play-Doh.
  • Play-Doh stains can be removed from clothing by soaking in diluted vinegar or rubbing alcohol before washing. Rinse thoroughly.

Easy-to-follow activities will support you and your child to learn and practice new concepts and enjoy spending time together. Help your child progress, explore, and, most importantly, have fun!

Play-Doh Games – Tips for Parents and Educators: Learning, Play, and Problem-Solving with Play-Doh

Creating a Conducive Learning Environment:

  • Open play space: Dedicate a designated area for Play-Doh exploration, with easy access to tools, mats, and storage.
  • Variety of colors and textures: Offer a diverse selection of Play-Doh colors and textures to stimulate sensory exploration and creativity.
  • Clean and organized: Maintain a clean environment to encourage focused play and minimize distractions.
  • Open-ended materials: Provide various tools like rolling pins, cookie cutters, play knives, and molds to promote imaginative play and problem-solving.
  • Limit distractions: Turn off TVs and minimize background noise to allow for deeper engagement.

Engaging Children in Play-Doh Activities:

  • Start with open-ended prompts: Encourage free exploration and ask open-ended questions like “What can you create?” or “What story can you tell with your Play-Doh?”
  • Offer themed inspiration: Spark imaginative play with themes like building a zoo, making space aliens, or recreating their favorite characters.
  • Incorporate storytelling: Weave stories into the play, asking children to narrate their creations and imagine outcomes.
  • Play alongside them: Be actively involved, modeling creative techniques and participating in their imaginative scenarios.
  • Embrace challenges: Gradually introduce challenges like building specific structures or following sequential steps to encourage problem-solving.

Encouraging Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills:

  • Ask open-ended questions: Prompt them to think critically by asking “How can you fix this broken bridge?” or “What different ways can you make a ball?”
  • Present obstacles and challenges: Offer scenarios where they need to find solutions using their Play-Doh creations, like building a bridge strong enough to hold toys.
  • Encourage trial and error: Allow them to experiment and learn from their mistakes, praising their effort and persistence.
  • Model problem-solving strategies: Demonstrate thinking out loud, proposing different solutions, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Discuss their creations: After playing, talk about their work, asking them to explain their choices and thought processes.

Additional Tips:

  • Connect Play-Doh to other learning areas: Integrate Play-Doh activities with letter and number recognition, color sorting, shape exploration, or science experiments.
  • Vary the difficulty: Adapt activities to children’s ages and abilities, gradually increasing complexity as they develop.
  • Celebrate their creations: Display their masterpieces or take pictures to build their confidence and sense of accomplishment.
  • Most importantly, have fun! Joyful and relaxed learning will foster a love for exploration and discovery.

Remember, Play-Doh is a versatile tool for learning beyond just creativity. By providing a stimulating environment, engaging activities, and opportunities for problem-solving, you can help children develop valuable skills that go beyond the playtime table.

Play-Doh Adventures Beyond Subtraction: Expanding the Learning Fun!

While the previous sections focused on subtraction, Play-Doh can be a powerful tool for teaching various concepts through engaging and hands-on activities. Here are some ideas and resources to spark your creativity:

Expanding Math Skills:

  • Addition: Roll Play-Doh balls to represent numbers and combine them, physically demonstrating the concept. Encourage storytelling around creating a specific sum, like building a tower with a certain number of bricks.
  • Shapes: Create various shapes with Play-Doh and introduce their names. Play matching games, sort them by color or size, or even build structures like houses or vehicles using specific shapes.
  • Measurement: Roll out snakes of different lengths and compare them, introducing concepts like “longer,” “shorter,” or “tallest.” Use cookie cutters to make Play-Doh shapes and compare their areas.

Early Literacy Skills:

  • Letter Recognition: Roll out Play-Doh snakes and shape them into letters of the alphabet. Say the letter name together and encourage them to build simple words. Let them decorate their creations with Play-Doh accents.
  • Phonics: Make Play-Doh balls representing different sounds (e.g., red for “a,” blue for “e”). Have them build words by combining the sounds and say them aloud.
  • Sight Words: Choose common sight words and create them with Play-Doh, tracing the shape with their fingers and saying the word. Gradually increase difficulty as they master reading them.

Play-Doh Games – FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What are the benefits of using Play-Doh for learning?

A: Play-Doh offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Engaging and hands-on: Makes learning active and fun, promoting better retention and engagement.
  • Develops fine motor skills: Strengthens hand-eye coordination and dexterity through manipulating the Play-Doh.
  • Enhances creativity and imagination: Allows children to freely explore and express themselves.
  • Introduces basic math and literacy concepts: Can be used to teach counting, shapes, letters, and early reading skills.
  • Promotes problem-solving and critical thinking: Encourages children to experiment, find solutions, and overcome challenges.

Q: What are some other Play-Doh activities I can try with my child?

A: The possibilities are endless! Check out the resources listed in the article for inspiration, or adapt the provided activities to teach different concepts like addition, shapes, or early literacy skills.

Q: Are there any age restrictions for using Play-Doh for learning?

A: Play-Doh is generally safe for children over 2 years old. However, supervise young children closely to ensure they don’t ingest it. You can start with simple activities and gradually introduce more complex ones as they grow.

Q: Where can I find more resources for Play-Doh activities?

A: Several websites and blogs offer creative Play-Doh activities for different ages and skills. Some resources mentioned in the article include The Learning Station, NurtureStore, Activities for Kids, and The Imagination Tree.

Q: How can I adapt these activities for children with special needs?

A: Consider their specific needs and adjust the activities accordingly. Offer visual cues, break down steps into smaller chunks, and encourage participation at their own pace. There are also resources available specifically for using Play-Doh with children with special needs.

Play-Doh Games – Conclusion

Play-Doh is a versatile tool that goes beyond just playtime. By incorporating it into your learning routine, you can create a fun and engaging environment where children develop valuable skills like creativity, problem-solving, and early literacy. Remember, the key is to keep it playful, adapt activities to their needs, and celebrate their efforts along the way. With a little imagination and exploration, Play-Doh can spark a lifelong love for learning!

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