Get ready for a blast of learning and fun with these hands-on, printable Christmas playdough mats! Your preschoolers’ creativity will soar as they play, learn and develop important fine motor skills all through playdough.
Grab your free printable at the end of this post, and be sure to check out all my best Christmas activities for preschoolers, too! Look for my fool-proof, no-cook playdough recipe in this post, too.
Develop Fine Motor Skills with Christmas Playdough Printables
Kids love playing with these free playdough mats! Now you can use kid favorite fine motor tool — playdough — to help toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners strengthen both large and small hand muscles while having fun. This Christmas activity for kids will work critical thinking skills such as counting or sequencing in a creative way while celebrating the Christmas holiday.
Whether you are a preschool parent, teacher, or homeschooler – you will love this hands-on Christmas activity. Add these to your December lesson plans by printing them out and keeping them with all your Christmas activities for preschoolers.
But spoiler alert! You can use more than just playdough with these mats! Try putting them in a dry erase pouch and using dry erase markers to color them.
The Best-Ever No-Cook Playdough Recipe without Cream of Tartar
If you are a preschool teacher, you probably go through a lot of play dough. If you are a preschool parent, you probably go through a lot of play dough, too. It can get pricey, which is why you need this absolutely perfect no-cook playdough recipe without cream of tartar, and it really is…well…absolutely perfect.
Christmas Playdough Recipe
Or, try out our favorite Christmas playdough recipe. It’s a classic cooked playdough recipe with scented oils to make it smell just like a Christmas candle.
FAQ About Using Playdough for Learning Activities
Making DIY playdough is a cinch! All you need is some flour, salt, vegetable oil, water and a little cream of tartar and the ability to knead the dough.
There are literally hundreds of playdough recipes, and all of them are just as easy as your grandmother’s. My favorite playdough recipe cookbook offers 45 proven playdough recipes. Many of them are even no-cook playdough recipes, making them extra easy to whip up.
You can turn any of my 45 playdough recipes into a Christmas scented recipe by using a few drops of essential oils.
Don’t have any essential oils? You can also use a teaspoon of your favorite Christmas spices like cinnamon, cloves, or my favorite — nutmeg. Adding ground spices might change the color slightly, but if you’re adding food coloring to make red or green, it won’t matter. My favorite way to make scented playdough for the Christmas is by using cooking extracts like vanilla, hazelnut, cinnamon, maple, and even rum extract.
The activities you can do with playdough are endless. Popular playdough activities now include playdough invitations to play, themed playdough mats (like these Christmas theme playdough mats), playdough crafts, and playdough math activities. You can even use playdough to form letter shapes.
Preschool teachers love to add playdough to their sensory bins and sensory tables because it is also a nice fine motor activity for preschoolers.
Free Christmas Playdough Mats
This is such a fun Christmas activity! Preschoolers love playing with playdough, whether they are making Christmas trees, rolling candy canes, or smooshing jingle bells into the dough. I am always sure to include at least one Christmas playdough activity in my weekly preschool lesson plans.
Print these Christmas play dough mats in color and on heavy cardstock. I print everything in color because it’s more inviting, and I use the heaviest cardstock I can afford because the printables will last longer, even if they are protected by a dry erase pouch or lamination.
Place the mats in a dry erase pouch and set them out on the table with a few colors of playdough. Now, invite your preschooler to come and enjoy some very satisfying Christmas sensory play!
How to Use the Playdough Mats
These playdough mats are slightly different from others in that there are no directions for preschoolers to follow. I wanted my preschoolers to enjoy the creative process without my intervening, so there are no, “roll balls to add ornaments to the Christmas tree,” kind of directions.
Disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a cute idea, but directions just weren’t my intention here.
I invited my own son, who is a preschooler, to sit down and use the playdough to complete a Christmas scene. Without offering more instruction, I just sat down next to him and started doing my own playdough mat.
First I started by matching colors and carefully smooshing them onto the mat. As I worked, I talked about what I was doing. Soon, my son joined me, at first on my playdough mat rather than selecting his own.
We added a star to the tree, and green playdough for the pine leaves. He carefully rolled a pink ball for the reindeer’s nose (because he likes pink better than red, and I’m surprised he didn’t actually choose purple, his favorite color), and a blue scarf.
Soon, my son moved on to his own playdough mat.
He chose my favorite mat, the llama with Christmas lights wrapped around him. And before I knew it, he was very carefully, almost painstakingly, rolling the tiniest balls possible to make the lights. He used his tiny fingertips to create the best possible playdough lights.
My son love all things teeny tiny, from rolly-pollies and ladybugs to itty-bitty grapes and kittens. He was so proud of all the miniature sized playdough balls he rolled with his fingertips.
He counted each one, as high as he could go, and then promptly smashed each playdough light with his thumb, squealing, “Smash! Want some smash with that?! Smash!” Such a kid, right?
These playdough mats get used with all my preschool students, but they always hang out in our home playdough accessory bin because even my older elementary school aged children love playing with playdough. And, it’s an easy way for me to bring a little more holiday cheer into our home in December.
And, they pair perfectly with all my Christmas preschool centers!
Don’t forget Christmas Picture Books!
We love pairing all our Christmas activities with Christmas picture books! These books are perfect to cuddle up with after you’ve finished with your playdough mats, or are ideal for a Christmas-themed circle time.
Get Your Playdough Mats Here!
Wanna’ grab your own playdough mats to put out at your Christmas sensory table? Just fill out the form below and the PDF will be sent to your inbox.
More Fine Motor Activities for Christmas
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.