Playdough and toothpicks building

Many of the play ideas I post here happen as a result of my children taking some everyday materials and experimenting. Having a well stocked making box (which really doesn’t mean lots of expensive art materials) and permission to help themselves to some of our kitchen supplies often leads to all sorts of creativity and learning. Today’s post is an example of how a fusion of two materials can produce lots of thinking about maths, dimensions, construction, creativity, role-play and of course plenty of fun.

Building designs with playdough and toothpicks

Play dough and toothpicks

You know we use play dough at lot in our house. I think it might just be the one play material we’d pick above all others. We’ve played with it week in week out for almost nine years! I’ve talked before about how much learning can be included in playdough play but the key thing to get the most from it is to mix things up a little.

This week we’ve been mixing things up by adding toothpicks to our playdough. If you saw our Mad Hatter’s Tea Party you’ll know the toothpicks were intended to make an edible hedgehog – but B knows a great playdough idea when she sees one!

She wondered if the playdough would work as a ‘glue’ to hold the cocktail sticks together – and look what happened.
playdough cocktail sticks
Triangles and squares began to appear – and lots of wondering and experimenting started happening. Could you make it bigger? Could  you mix different shapes together? Could you build up?
playdough cocktail sticks
L was playing along to, and she discovered the cocktail sticks give your playdough extra strength, to build tall strong creatures…
playdough and cocktail sticks
and re-inforced homes for them to live in.
playdough cocktail sticks

Mix up your play dough

Are you playing with play dough this week? What could you add in to give your children a different experience this time?

If you’ve already tried playdough with cocktail sticks maybe you could try twigs, straws, art , shells or candles?

super sensory footerSuper Sensory Invitations to Play

Ready for a whole year of exploring through the senses? Super Sensory Invitations to Play is a delightful resource that encourages your children to explore the five senses through the year, using a wide variety of sensory materials. It includes 52 invitations to play, linked to the festivals and seasons of the year, and including water, ice, dough, rice, paints, sand, sensory tubs, and more.

They are easy, simple, and fun ideas that you can use right now to give a multi-sensory boost to your play and learning. It comes with a printable recipe book featuring all our favourite recipes for play. Come and see more here.


  1. says

    i’ve seen this done with baby marshmallows but there is no way my son would stop eating them long enough to make shapes – but playdough, now that is doable.

  2. says

    My favorites are the geometric shapes! We were going to try this with marshmallows but I think we’ll try play dough, instead! Thanks!

  3. says

    I love those geometric structures! I think my kiddos are a bit too little for unrestricted access to sharp implements, but I am definitely going to add some straws and lolly sticks in our playdough kit now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *