Creative hobby for toddlers: plasticine

Aug 10, 2021

Creativity and toddlers

If you are a parent or hang out with toddlers, most likely you notice their limitless potential to imagine and create. I am impressed to see the creativity of my 2 and 3 year old daughters evolve. It’s so cute to see them tell each other stories or invent songs, to watch them animate their little figurines (human and animal).

I find it important that she can explore this aspect at their own pace, according to their desires and interests. They like to draw with their crayons or paint occasionally but their favorite activity for several weeks has been plasticine. 

They play for a long time almost every day. Despite their young age, they manage to stay very focused for a long time.

loisir créatif pour tout-petits, la pâte à modeler

I would like to take a little aside on creativity. Remember that it is not only reserved for artistic activities such as drawing, painting, crafts, singing or making music ... It is found in many facets of our children's daily lives.

Later, it will allow the grown-up child to find ways to more easily resolve disagreements, seek solutions, help him strengthen his self-esteem and allow him to find new resources in himself when this presents various situations of life. A good reason to make it accessible!

That said, if the activity of creating something without performance pressure and an intuitive way speaks to you (yes, yes even for you as an adult!), I am convinced that the fact of creating makes it easier to let go and be more relaxed in the face of adversity. It doesn't work miracles and I'm not saying it'll get you through all situations with a smile, but I think it helps. Personally, it was an activity that made it easier for me to get through the stress of operations with my younger daugther Sofia.

Encourage creative moments

When we give the little ones some free play time, we encourage the creativity of our mini. As a parent, our role is to provide them with easily accessible material. Then kids can explore their creativity when they want to. When the children are a little older, I want to prepare a place for them with all the equipment, but for the moment the girls have a space of their own. They have at their disposal in the common area of the house an old small table and two wooden chairs retyped by their grandfather. The girls fetch their modeling clay from a closet within their reach when they feel like it.


Benefits of plasticine

 A creative and relaxing game that allows toddlers to create the shapes they imagine and bring their creations to life. It is an activity that helps to increase their self-confidence, their ability to concentrate. Children from 1 year old may have an interest in this activity under supervision.

Plasticine can also be used to stimulate different senses and even many learnings.

Among others:

  • Stimulate the senses by opting for various textures (adding coarse salt for example) and smell by adding essential oils to the dough (homemade dough).
  • Improve fine motor skills, hand dexterity and even more finger skills.
  • Work on motor skills by performing various actions such as kneading, pinching, rolling, crushing, tearing, cutting, crumbling.
  • Learn shapes and certain characteristics (larger or smaller, elongated, round, pointed, etc.). Use cookie cutters and distinguish the shapes.
  • Learn the numbers.
  • Recognize the colors.
  • Mix the primary colors to create a secondary color. Red + Blue Paste = Purple Paste.

Making with our hands 

When we do something with our hands because we want to and allow ourselves to take the time, it is always rewarding. I think it allows you to ground yourself in the present moment. I'm not talking about making something that necessarily requires artistic talent, it can be a cook for one person, or a vegetable garden for the other. Maybe for you it's doing some of your cosmetics or your household products.

The minimalist current inspires me and I like to take ideas here and there while respecting my rhythm and that of my family. I like the idea of giving more and more space to do certain things with my hands. Also, I find it so important to inspire my children and to show from an early age that there are other possibilities than turning quickly to business solutions.

fabriquer soi-même la pâte à modeler

Make your own plasticine

Sofia tends to put things in her mouth occasionally. The plasticine can be transformed according to her inspirations into culinary creations and she sometimes has an irresistible urge to take a bite. Although the store-bought one is supposed to be non-toxic, with the questionable ingredients I prefer to make the dough, especially since it's quick, easy, and I use ingredients from the pantry.

Before I tried to make it again, I had a preconceived idea that homemade plasticine was rougher, shattering. I had the misconception that they could be a bit more boring for kids to handle, that the colors weren't as vibrant and interesting.

Anyway, even if the child has multiple colors, she always ends up mixing and becoming, brunette! So, you might as well make it yourself as you wish. And if not, there is always a way to make the color more intense depending on the pigments used to color it.

As for the texture, the recipe that I follow makes it perfect. The dough remains malleable for a very long time and can be stored for a long time.

I make the Ricardo Cuisine modeling clay recipe available here.

recette de pâte à modeler


A plasticine that will last a long time for hours of fun for toddlers, and even the oldest!

So tell me, do your little ones like to play with play dough? If so, at what age did they discover this hobby? Does he like to use props or just play with the dough?

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