Play-dough Fossil Fun

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Play-dough Fossil Fun!

Preparation Time: Less than 5 minutes 
Engagement: 45-60 minutes
Clean up: Less than 5 minutes
Waste: 0 

This is such a simple, quick and easy activity for little ones to enjoy. Anything that involves play-dough, Harry is there! He doesn’t tire from the stuff, similar to most toddlers I should imagine?

So I got the play-dough out for the 3845272 time, but this time I got the small world dinosaurs out too and pressed a few into some play-dough knowing Harry would be watching, then I let him crack on. He immediately mimicked me and started exploring all the dinosaurs and foliage to see what marks they made. He did this over and over for AGES!


  • Play-dough- ‘Shop bought’ play-dough creates a clearer print than homemade play-dough in our experience
  • Small world Dinosaurs
  • Plastic Cutlery


  • Clear a hard surface- we used our ‘Tuff tray’
  • Open pots of play-dough- I leave the dough in the pots and let Harry manipulate it out of the pots himself.
  • Scatter small world dinosaurs and foliage around the tray
  • Let your little one explore!

You could obviously do this with any animals/objects, the more textured/unusual the item, the better! I think the most enjoyable part of play dough is the mark making isn’t it?

Benefits of this activity

  • Language Development
    *Describing textures- smooth, soft, bumpy etc
    *Naming utensils
    *Naming Dinosaurs
    *Giving instructions- Press, lift, feel etc.
  • Cognitive Skills;
    * Problem solving- Harry spent a little time exploring the different amounts of pressure he needed to get the prints he wanted.
    * Trial and error
  • Social & Emotional Skills;
    * Time to focus on the development of new skills
    * A period of calm
    * Mimicking one another
  • Motor Skills ;
    *Fine motor skill development- pressing dough, trying to lift items out of the dough carefully etc.
    * Development of co-ordination and strength- altering amounts of pressure being applied etc.
  • Creative Development;
    * Child led
    * Children discover different mark making items
    * Allows for use of imagination and creativity
  • Hand-eye co-ordination;
    *Removing the dough from the pots
    * Manipulating fingers and dough to remove items after being printed- this was tricky at times

I plan to collect some bits and pieces on our next walk, and have another go at this using some more ‘natural objects’. I am sure it will entertain Harry just as well, watch this space!

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