Making Letters in Play Dough


My kiddos have been on a play dough kick lately, so I decided to add in my stash of beads and sneak in some learning while they play.  With some homemade play dough and an assortment of beads, we had fun making letters for this simple letter recognition activity!

play dough letters activity

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I have a love/hate relationship with play dough.  I see great value in the manipulative as it is being squished around between little fingers as it is great for fine motor skills and sensory play, however, I cringe when I see my kiddos not having a care in the world now that we no longer have a pretty blue and purple, but a dull brown- ha!  And they surely don't mind play dough crumbs around the house like I do! 

But this activity is simple, fun, and educational so I say you must try it at least once!


  • store bought or homemade play dough
  • Beads
  • craft stick (to make marks in playdough) or something with a pointed edge like a toothpick.

Play Dough Alphabet Activity

Yep, that is all you need for this activity!  Well, and a willing participant, of course!

To set up the activity I rolled out some playdough and then used a craft stick to write a letter.

 For some reason we chose "R" first.

I showed Little Sis how to follow the line and make her own beaded "R" by having her push the beads into the playdough.

writing in play dough

This Playdough Literacy activity is great for pre-writing and fine motor skills!

Continue tracing the letter with beads until your letter is complete!  Then... start again with a new letter!  Pick out all the beads and roll out a new "spread" of play dough to make letters in.

For another twist to this simple activity, you can provide letter flashcards and have your child make the letter in the playdough without lines to follow.

fine motor activity using play dough

Or switch gears a bit and work on name recognition, too!!

play dough literacy idea

For more simple activities using play dough, you might like:

Don't forget to check out these great fine motor activities, too!

99 fine motor ideas for ages 1 to 5


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