Inside: Toddlers and preschoolers will love this set of free counting play dough printable mats. A fun way to work on sensory, fine motor and math skills during centers time or at home!
Play dough is a must in our toddler and preschool classroom, which is why it is available every day.
It is an easy way to work on a variety of skills, but can also be very calming, which is important for busy kids.
In addition to various tools, I like to use play dough mats for some of our skill building activities.
Today I’m sharing free play dough printable mats that will help your toddlers and preschoolers work on math and counting while also strengthening the hands and fingers.
A fun way to add hands-on learning that is also very calming.
Free Counting Play Dough Printable Mats for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Play dough is a necessity in our toddler and preschool classroom for so many reasons, which is why it’s available every day.
Play dough is one of our favorite ways of adding fine motor to our daily routine.
Hands and fingers are strengthened by:
- Squeezing the play dough between the palms of the hands
- Poking small items into the dough and then pulling them out
- Using scissors to cut snips of dough
- Stamping cookie cutters through the dough
All of these motions are important for getting the hands ready for coloring, drawing and writing.
Our toddlers and preschoolers love to use their imaginations while working with play dough.
For this reason, I often will provide baking tins, small animals, cars that can be driven across.
Almost every day someone brings me a play dough cupcake!
Our play dough table often becomes the hub for conversation as the children discuss what they are making.
Since they are using a shared space, they are asking each other to pass certain tools, or to please share more of the play dough.
Using play dough with a group of children is a great way to work on language skills!
Play dough can be very soothing.
I’ve found that quieter children will often start at the play dough table before joining other centers.
I purposely place our play dough table near the entrance to the classroom so that if a child is having a hard time saying goodbye to a parent or caregiver, a teacher can gently direct them to this area where they can press and squeeze the play dough while calming down.
Related: How to Deal with Separation Anxiety
Play dough is a favorite way to work on math skills, too.
As mounds of dough are made, the children compare their sizes.
They might notice that their creations are certain shapes.
When we have sectioned trays, the children can count the balls of play dough as they place on in each spot.
Free Counting Play Dough Printable Mats
There are lots of different types of play dough mats out there, but the ones my toddlers and preschoolers seem to like the most are those that involve some sort of counting.
They love to roll the play dough into small balls and count the results.
I decided to create a set of free counting play dough mats that can be downloaded and printed for school or home.
- Play dough
- Counting mats printable (scroll towards bottom of this page to find the free download)
How to use:
Place desired mats on a table along with the dough.
I highly recommend laminating the mats so that they are more durable and easy to wipe clean.
For younger children:
Only put a few of the lower numbers on the table.
Invite the children to make small balls of play dough and place one on each of the black circles.
Count the balls with the children and then ask them to try counting them without your help.
Show the children how to make a “snake” by rolling a ball of dough back and forth.
Then, place the strip of rolled play dough onto the number on the counting mat.
Working on a specific number:
If you are focusing on a specific number, make copies of that particular page and place on the table.
For example, if you are focusing on the number 5, only have the 5 counting mat available. (If you are in a classroom, you can make multiple copies of the same page.)
More math activities for toddlers:
More math activities for preschoolers:
Free Counting Play Dough Printable Mats
Click on the photo below for the pdf download:
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