Teaching with Play Doh



If you don’t have a class set of Play Doh cups, you may want to consider purchasing some. (Or even asking for parent donations.) Play Doh can be used for a wide variety of activities and it’s very motivating for students.  Nobody wants to be the kid that gets their Play Doh taken away because they weren’t following instructions!

sculpting 3D shapes, teaching with Play Doh

One year the art teacher at my school taught my kids how to sculpt some of the 3D shapes.  I think they used Model Magic but I’m using PlayDoh here:

sculpting a sphere and other 3D shapes out of Play Doh, fun for teaching geometry #teachingmath #geometry #playdoh


sculpting a cylinder our of playdoh, a fun activity for teaching 3D shapes and geometry #teachingmath #geometry

 sculpting a cone out of play doh, a fun activity for learning about 3D shapes #teachingmath #geometry #playdoh
 sculpting a cube out of play doh, a fun way to learn about geometry and 3D shapes #teachingmath #geometry
Some of these shapes are a little bit tricky to make.  I tell students that it’s fine to try more than once.  If they need to squish up their PlayDoh and start again it’s no big deal.  Most of us aren’t perfect at doing something the first time around.
Having the shapes in their hands gave my students a great opportunity to count the faces, edges, and vertices.  It’s so much more effective than holding up the one model of a shape in front of the class and hope everybody is counting edges along with you!
Management tip: Tell the students that if they can stay focused long enough to complete the task you are asking of them (whether it’s making one 3D shape, or all four) then they can have some time to working with the PlayDoh using their own ideas.



Here is another resource for practicing geometry skills from my TpT shop. Click on the picture to check it out:

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Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.