Language Activities with Play-Dough

by FS&TS

by Emily Jung, MS/CCC-SLP

Play-Dough is a great activity to facilitate a variety of language concepts with children.  It offers an inexpensive way to target expressive language, receptive language and even articulation.  Here are some ideas for fun with Play-Dough during therapy or at home!


Requesting with Play-Doh:

  • Cookie cutters (Do you want the duck or the cow?) 
  • Different color Play-Dough (Can I have blue?)
  • Tools- scissors, pizza cutter, cookie cutters, rollers, spoon/fork, other utensils

Following Directions with Play-Doh:

  • Roll the ball
  • Put the circle in the cup
  • Give me the duck
  • Cut the pizza and put it on the plate

Verbs with Play-doh:

  • Roll
  • Cut
  • Squeeze
  • Push
  • Smash
  • Open
  • Close
  • Take out, etc.

Vocabulary/Concepts with Play-doh:

  • Prepositions- in, out, on, off, under, on top, etc.
  • Size words- big, little, biggest, smallest, etc.
  • Quantity- one, two, some, more, etc.
  • Shapes/Colors

Imitation with Play-doh:

  • Sounds- animal sounds, vehicle sounds, etc. 
  • Words- labeling
  • Actions- model a variety of actions with the Play-Dough and have the child imitate

Answering Questions:

  • What says moo?
  • What can you eat?
  • Which ball is bigger?


  • Make objects out of play-Dough that have your speech sound in it
  • Play-Dough mats targeting specific sounds can be made or downloaded

You can also make your own play-dough for even more language opportunities, including more complex directions and sequencing!  Here is a simple recipe.

Basic Play-Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp food coloring

Pour all dry ingredients together in a saucepan.  Add oil.  Combine food coloring and water.  Add colored water to dry ingredients.  Whisk to remove any lumps and blend all the ingredients.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it becomes thick.  Put play-Dough onto a clean surface and knead until smooth.  When cool, store in a plastic bag or air-tight container to keep it from drying out.