Counting With Play Dough (With FREE Printables)

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What's not to love about play dough? The kids try to eat it, it ends up all over the floor and it gets stuck in your carpet. No, but seriously, play dough it awesome. And it ticks so many boxes: sensory play, imaginative play, cooking practice and...


Yep, play dough can be used to learn numbers and counting, and I'll show you how to do it with things you have at home.

First up is the play dough. It's not hard to find play dough recipes on the internet, but this is our go-to recipe because you don't have to cook it. But note for if littlies are helping: it does use boiling water so take care.

Play Dough Recipe


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tbs oil
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Mix first 3 ingredients together
  2. Mix last 3 ingredients together
  3. Mix all ingredients together
  4. Add extra flour bit by bit if it's too wet.

Simple, right?

And now for the counting. Click the button below to get your free play dough counting mats (1 - 10) and print them out.

Now, if you have a laminator, I recommend laminating them because you can then use them over and over again. But if you don't have a laminator, you can just use them as they are. Eventually they might get torn or crumpled, but your little one might know their numbers by then, and you can always print out more!

Teeny side note: If you love doing activities and crafts with your kids, I highly recommend getting a laminator. They can be used for making so many different things and you can get them really cheap. I think mine was about $16 from Office Works.

Now for the counting fun!

Get your kids to create little play dough balls to add to the dots on the mats and then get them to make the shape of the numbers using the play dough. This is a great activity to get kids familiar with how numbers actually look as well as getting in some counting practice. 

Super easy and super fun! Hope you have fun!