Looking for a quiet activity that keeps your kids engaged for more than 20 minutes? Check out these free printable playdough mats and print yours today!
They are literally magical.
I have 4 kids, so as you can imagine, our house gets a little crazy sometimes. It’s nice to have an activity I can pull out on those rainy days that stops the craziness for a while.
Every time I get out these playdough mats for my kids they play happily for about 1.5 hours. It’s rather shocking.
It is really truly amazing to have them engaged, happy, and playing together for such an extended time period.
The only complaint that arises is that they want the mat that another child has, but that is easily fixed by printing out multiple copies of their favorites.
What is a Play Dough Mat?
If you’ve never seen a playdough mat, it’s basically a plastic placemat that you use with play dough.
The point is to extend the creativity and learning of playing with dough.
Each mat gives your child a starting point to spark their imagination or it asks a question that they can answer with dough.
For example, the pizza playdough mat below can be topped with pepperoni, cheese, or veggies, or whatever your child creates!
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Or your child can create a meal on the empty dinner plate. I love seeing what meals they create!
This dinner plate playdough mat is perfect for teaching nutrition to kids as well!
Next, they can fill the gumball machine mat with colorful gumballs! This is always a favorite and quite easy for even the youngest child.
I’ve included all 3 of these free playdough mats in my Resource library!
Printing Your Free Printable Play Dough Mats
After you download the play dough mats from my Resource Library, you can print them out at home or at an Office Store like Staples, Office Depot or a local print shop.
I recommend that you print on cardstock for durability. They will keep a long time if you laminate them. (I have this laminator and love it! It’s so simple to use.) Or you can place them inside a plastic paper protector.
Choosing the Playdough
Next, you will want to decide which kind of dough you want. My kids have always used the Play-Doh brand and it’s great. I love that it always stays moist, so long as my kids remember to place the lids on top of the containers. LOL
If you want to make an easy homemade playdough recipe, all you need are a few simple ingredients that you might already have in your home!
There are a TON of play dough recipes out there, but this is the absolute simplest one I know.
And for families with Celiac Disease, this recipe is gluten-free. Not that we eat our playdough, but it does tend to get under our fingernails, and can accidentally be ingested, which can lead to serious problems if you have Celiac disease.
How to Make Gluten Free Playdough
You will need:
– 2 Cups of Cornstarch
– 1 Cup of Hair Conditioner
– Food Coloring
– Mixing Bowl
– a Measuring Cup
Start by adding the 2 cups of cornstarch to your mixing bowl. I use my hands to mix the 1 cup of conditioner into the cornstarch. Next add your food coloring, be sure to not touch the dye directly, or your hands will turn colors!
My kids love mixing the dough and of course, picking out which colors to make! It smells good too (because of the conditioner!)
This dough has a different texture than the Playdoh you would buy, but it is Celiac safe and fun to make!
Introduce the Playdough Mats
Once the dough is ready, introduce your playdough mats. Be sure to show your kids how to use the mats. Explain each mat and give younger children some guidance on what to do.
I usually place a plastic tablecloth on the table to catch the mess. Then I shake it outside when we are done.
Also, parenting pro tip: invest in a tiny broom/dust pan so that your kids can learn to help clean up the mess.
***Shocker: most kids love to help clean up!***
And that’s it! Sit back and enjoy some quiet time!
I have the pizza, dinner plate, and bubblegum machine playdough mats FREE that you can print out in my Resource Library which is free to all of my email subscribers! You can join my email list below!
If your kids LOVE these free mats, I also have several other playdough mat sets available in my Etsy shop that you can instantly download.
Currently, I have food play dough mats, a set that teaches numbers, a unicorn themed playdough mat set and some holiday play dough mats.
Laminated play dough mats with some dough would make an excellent play dough gift for any child!
I hope you enjoy some amazing quiet time in the coming weeks with these free printable playdough mats! For more fun activities for kids be sure to check out the 12 quiet time activities in this post. Or try this fun nostalgic Dirt Pudding Cup recipe.