Array Toddler PlayDough Counting Activity | Montessori From The Heart
BABY MATH 🔢 Play Dough SENSORIAL 🖐️👀👂👅👃 Taste Safe Sensory Play TODDLER

Toddler PlayDough Counting Activity


Toddler PlayDough counting flower-poke and pasta-thread sensory play activity is designed for toddlers to develop fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, and numeracy skills.

Have you ever made no-cook home-made play dough? The process is so easy and the end-product is so much better than any store-bought version. Besides, by making it yourself, you know exactly what is going in it, and the process of making it is so satisfying! If you have little ones, you can make it TASTE-SAFE, by skipping essential oils, and glycerine! Most importantly, toddler playdough counting activity is a fun way to develop numeracy skills and introduce 1:1 corresponded while using materials around your home.

Play dough is such an amazing and safe sensory and fine motor tool to engage the little hands! And, you can customize it in so many ways, such as adding food coloring, natural dyes and flavors, or essential oils. Kneading it can also be quite therapeutical! I hope you will love my easy no-cook play dough recipe with a special ingredient! And it should take you just five minutes to make!


  • 1 cup of white all-purpose flour (measure accurately and tap any air bubbles from flour)
  • 1/2 cup of table salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, which is the powdered form of tartaric acid. This organic acid is found naturally in many plants and also formed during the winemaking process. Cream of tartar helps stabilize whipped egg whites, prevents sugar from crystallizing and acts as a leavening agent for baked goods. If you do not have it, you can substitute it by adding 1 tsp of vinegar plus 1 tsp of salt.
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (olive oil or coconut oil can work too)
  • optional: 1 teaspoon of glycerine for shine, however, play dough won’t be taste-safe any more
  • 1 cup of boiling water. *If making dyed play dough, add 1/4 teaspoon of food coloring (or gel food coloring) to the water BEFORE mixing it with other ingredients!
  • optional: 3-5 tablespoons (squirts) of shaving foam if you are Ok with dough NOT being taste-safe
  • optional: essential oils (remember, when you add scented oils, play dough is NO longer taste-safe)

HOW: In a bowl combine flour, salt and cream of tartar. Mix well and add the oil. Then, add boiling water (having coloring already in it if dyeing your dough). Mix everything well and add shaving foam. Keep kneading with your hands until the mixture is no longer sticky.


Skip essential oils, glycerine, and shaving foam, and add spices, chocolate powder or flower petals to boiling water (use a blender for flower petals or chamomile to help color the dough). If you do not have a blender, soak petals in water for a while and crush them with a pestle or stir/smoosh around with a fork.

Store your play dough in an air-tight container or a zip-lock bag (wrapped in a cellophane or food wrap), preferably in a fridge.

TIP: if, after use or storage, play dough becomes dry or crumbly, add a little more oil and/or more shaving foam.

Toddler PlayDough Counting Activity

There are so many ways your child can enjoy Toddler PlayDough Counting Activity! By simply kneading the dough, they are exercising muscles of the hand and developing gross motor strength. By rolling, pulling, and pinching play dough, your little one is developing hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Really little ones, starting at eight months, will enjoy simply poking, pressing and squeezing play dough.


Here we are counting flowers

If you have older children, use play dough to reinforce numeral to quantity association by offering manipulatives. Here, we are using DIY wooden numerals and garden flowers to poke each “flower bed”. To make wooden numerals, I simple hand-wrote numbers with a Sharpie on unfinished wooden circles chips. (TIP: prime your wood with clear nail polish to prevent the marker from bleeding.) Explain to your child that a numeral is a written symbol representing the actual quantity, so we use manipulates or counters (penne pasta) to represent that. This activity is perfect for ages two to three years old.

Please, always supervise your children while they are learning through play. See this activity on Instagram here, and here you will find is a little more advanced version where the child is also offered to “make” numbers, reinforcing numeral formation.


Threading pasta requires a more precise fine motor control

Play-dough is such a magic tool for little learners. The dough helps strengthen little fingers and hands, which in turn helps children with pencil grip in the future. Play-dough is also great for fostering creativity and imagination. So with this Toddler PlayDough Counting Activity, you will offer your child to poke a long spaghetti or fettuccini in play dough balls and then thread the corresponding quantity of pasta (I am using penne). By threading and counting, your little one is learning to identify and match the quantity (the actual amount of pasta threaded) to the numeral in front of the play dough ball.


  • 18 M ~ you can offer to thread huge pasta, however since the penne’s opening is so small and it will require a lot of dexterity, offer at around 2yo
  • 2-4  Y~ introduce numbers as well as primary colors: can you thread blue/green/red? pasta
  • 4 Y+ ~ try addition/subtraction: you threaded 3, what if you thread one more, how many will you have?


Here we made Marbled Play Dough

Or see here Kid’s snack plate Farm Animals Invitation to play.

Leave a comment, which one is your favorite?

Have you downloaded my NEW eBook THE BASICS? It has everything you need to know to get started on your Montessori journey, as well as a CURRICULUM outline reference guide, the order of lessons, and the age when they should be introduced, in my opinion. See details HERE.


Also, check out HERE Homeschooling Montessori MADE-EASY membership in case you are exhausted from swimming in the vast ocean of irrelevant information and saving activities you never get to! And if you sign UP, the eBook is included in the package amongst MANY other perks!


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1 Comment

  • Reply Taste-Safe Pumpkin Playdough Recipe | Montessori From The Heart January 10, 2020 at 11:45 am

    […] HERE RECIPE Play-Dough-SafariLtd-Flower-Poke Also, see HERE RECIPE Home-Made-No-Cook-Play-Dough with […]


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