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If ever there was a toy that will never go out of style, it is play dough. Having been around for decades, it remains one of the most popular toys among kids. Suitable for both children and adults, play dough sets are all-rounded toys that offer educational and entertainment benefits.
For starters, play dough helps strengthen handle muscles and promote development of fine motor skills. Squishing play dough stress balls is incredibly therapeutic for kids as it helps release extra tension, improve concentration, and ease tension. Play dough offers limitless options when it comes to creativity. Other benefits offered by play dough include improved hand-to-eye coordination, better social skills, as well as numeracy and literacy development.
Looking at the sheer number of options available out there, choosing the best play dough set for your kid can be overwhelming. Some kits are themed around specific interests while others target children of a certain age range. In this post, we tell you how to choose a play dough set for your child. We also review the best play dough sets on the market.
Before we get into in-depth details, it’s important to note that play dough can be a health hazard for your little one. As such, there are certain safety precautions you need to keep in mind when your kids are playing with them.
Let’s take a quick look at these precautions:
Play dough is a choking hazard
There is a good reason why play dough is mostly recommended for children aged at least two years old. Kids have a tendency to put anything they find in their mouth, and this includes large chucks of balls made from play dough. Play dough is a choking hazard, hence the importance of constant supervision.
Keep play dough away from babies and dogs
Play dough shouldn’t be given to babies who still put everything they find into their mouths, or pets for that matter. Their salty taste makes them very appealing, and many babies will try to eat it. Watch your toddler and pet closely when they are playing with play dough.
Play dough should not be eaten
This is particularly concerning for children with wheat allergies. The last thing you need is your child suffering from a severe allergic reaction after eating play dough. Even the smallest taste of play dough made with wheat can cause an allergic reaction.
Homemade play dough is as safe as its ingredients
Making play dough is pretty easy – all you need is a good recipe and the ingredients you already have at home. However, just because homemade play dough is edible doesn’t make it your child’s favorite food. It won’t harm your child even when swallowed. But then again, the taste may be so bad that he will spit out the dough right away. Whatever the case, discourage your child from eating homemade play dough and give them water if they become thirsty.
Always, always read the label
Even though commercial play doughs are generally non-toxic, reading the labels before purchase is a must. Look at the ingredients, age recommendations and warnings to be aware of before buying.
Our 10 Best Play Dough Sets for Children Picks:
1. Play Doh Modelling Compound 36-Pack Case of Colors
Topping our list is the Play Doh Modelling Compound 36-Pack, an excellent choice for someone in search of assorted colors. It is a budget pack that includes 36 tubes of Play Doh, each weighing 3 ounces. It is everything your child needs to expand their creativity and more.
Like other official Play Doh products, this one is nontoxic and doesn’t pose any harm to your kid. You may have to look elsewhere if your child is allergic to gluten. This is a great starter play dough kit, especially since the wide assortment of colors allows their imagination to go wild.
Recommended for ages 2-36, this mega pack can be used in classrooms, party favors for children, arts & crafts and birthday gifts. Opening the package is easy and the packaging (lids and cans) are recyclable.
- Easy to open, recyclable packaging
- 36-pack Play Doh modeling compound
- 36 assorted colors in 3-ounce cans
- Squishy, bright and non-toxi Play Doh
- Recommended age: 2-36 years
2. Play Doh Modelling Compound 10-Pack Case of Colors
This Modelling Compoud 10-Pack Case of Colors is our favorite pick for best play dough set for girls. It is offered as a pack of 10 cans, hence plenty of creative fun for your little one. Each can comes in a unique color and weighs 2-ounces.
Your little girl gets all the right colors to explore their creativity. They can squish, shape and mix the dough to make anything they’d like. This is a great for use as an add-on to Play Doh toy or Play Doh refills.
This modeling compound is squishy and non-toxic, hence safe for children who love arts and crafts. It is recommended for kids aged 2+ years, and doesn’t contain any ingredients that may cause severe allergic reactions. Like all Play Doh products, it is packaged in easy to open, recyclable cans.
- 10 cans of creative fun
- Recommended for kids aged 2+ years
- Easy to open, recyclable packaging
- 10-pack Play Doh in 2 ounce cans
- Just the right colors to get started
3. Play Doh Shoppe Cookie Creations
Another best play doh sets for girls is the Shoppe Cookie Creations by Play Doh. It is a great gift choice for girls who love spending time in the kitchen. Suitable for children of all ages, this is a high quality toy that makes for entertaining play dates.
It is made using quality ingredients that are safe for your child. The kit is tested for durability and quality, so you can sure your money will be well spent. It comes with everything your little girl needs to feel like a real life baker.
The kit includes four cutters for creating square, heart, circle and star shaped cookies. A textured rolling pin allows one to create fun patterns. Also included is press pretend frosting with extruder, which comes handy when making make-believe sandwich cookies.
- Textured rolling pin for fun patterns
- 5 cans of modeling compound in different colors
- Tray, roller, spatula, 2-piece extruder and 4 cutters
- Press pretend frosting
- Create circle, square, heart and star shaped cookies
4. Play Doh Modeling Compound 24-Pack Case of Colors
This 24-pack case of colors offers plenty of non-toxic modeling compound for your child to channel their creativity. Suitable for both children and adults, the compound is packaged in multi-colored cans weighing 3 ounces.
Being a rainbow assortment, this pack allows you to create anything you set your mind to. You can press, squeeze, shape, squish, roll…the creation possibilities are limitless. It is recommended for kids aged 2+ years and the pack includes 24 cans of non-toxic play dough compound.
The packaging is frustration free and recyclable to ensure environmental sustainability.
- Great for kids aged 2+ years
- Bounce play dough in 24 assorted colors
- Non-toxic modeling compound
- Ideal for birthdays, parties, classrooms and more
- Ships in recyclable packaging for sustainability
5. Play Doh Fun Factory Deluxe Set
This is a fun Play Doh set for 2 year old children that offers plenty of room for exploring with mold and tools. It allows children to explore their creativity while having a great time. The kit comes with assorted cans and tools, thus providing open-ended possibilities for creation.
The Fin Factory Deluxe Set is available in different themes, hence plenty of creative role play. It includes six cans of modeling compound in assorted colors. The compound is perfect for children who love squishing, squeezing, shaping and more. It is also packaged in recyclable cans and lids.
All tools are made from plastic and as such, are safe for small hands and easy to clean. Given how many pieces this set comes with, the price is quite reasonable. It is a great classic toy that will keep your child occupied for hours.
- 6 cans of play dough in assorted colors
- Available in different themes
- Plastic tools are easy to clean
- Non-toxic play dough
- Recommended for 2+ year olds
6. Play Doh Numbers Letters N Fun Art Multi Kids Toddler Games Play Set
This is a great play dough set for boys and girls who love arts and crafts. They can roll, mold, cut and press the play dough. Perhaps the best advantage offered by this kit is that it promotes literacy and numeracy development in children. They’ll be learning to identify digits and letters as they play, hence an easier time in school.
In addition, they can create their own sequences and even create words. Highlights include more than 35 colorful number and letter molds to satisfy your child’s creativity. The set of numbers and letters allows for endless counting and spelling.
- More than 35 number and letter molds
- Dozens of molds in assorted colors
- Roll, cut, press and mold
- Promotes numeracy and literacy development
- Molds made from non-toxic ingredients
7. Play Doh Playful Pies Set
This Play Doh set for 3 year olds comes with everything your child needs to tap into their creative side. It is perfect for creating pretend Play Doh pies. Being a baking themed kit, it comes with all necessary tools and accessories needed to make pretend pies.
There are four cans of modeling compound, all in assorted colors. This makes for a slew of colorful pies in different designs. What’s more is that the Play Doh is easy to squeeze, cut, press, mold and shape into whatever you want.
A pie plate is also included for convenient ‘baking.’ The fruit basket is a nice addition that expands creativity and motivates the inner baker. When you factor in the 5 pie-themed accessories, it’s easy to see why this makes a great gift for make-believe bakers.
- Fruit basket for creating fillings
- Cream mold for topping colorful pies
- Includes 5 pie-themed tools
- Pie plate for serving
- Four cans of colorful molding compound
8. Play Doh Max The cement Mixer
If you are in search of a play dough set for boys, Max the Cement Mixer is a good contender. It allows your little boy to be the boss of their own construction site. It offers an engaging playtime that your kid will not get enough of.
This kit is designed to be safe for children, easy to use and play constructions games. It comes with a complete set of accessories including a stamp that resembles a cracked road and a steamroller.
There are five cans of modeling compound, all in different colors. You can mix and match them for colorful creations and a more enjoyable experience. A few cutting and squeezing accessories are included for fun playtimes. The cutting accessories include a collection of cutouts and shapes.
- Five cans of play dough
- Molding compound in different colors
- Steamroller included
- Cutting and squeezing accessories
- 3 road accessories
- Truck with extruder tail
9. Kiddie Dough Deluxe Mega Dough Set
The Deluxe Mega Dough Set by Kiddie Dough is a great starter kit for children who want to engage in creative role play and express their imagination. It includes twelve colorful mini cans of molding compound. The molding compound is made from non-toxic ingredients and comes in six rainbow colors.
The can lids feature build-in stamps that make for creative art and craft projects. This play set incorporates six unique factory themes. These include animals, super candy shop, people and ice cream shop. It comes with assorted modeling and cutting tools that include cookie cutters, rolling pin, stencils, pasta machine and more.
This deluxe play set offers open-ended opportunities for playing while teaching a child art and vocabulary fundamentals. The modeling compound is non-hardening and all things considered, this kit is a great gift for Christmas and birthday.
- 12 colorful mini-cans of play dough
- Super set with 6 rainbow colors
- 6 unique factory themes
- Assorted cutting and modeling tools
- Food, animals, people and more for open-ended play
- Non-toxic modeling compound
10. Play Do Sparkle Compound Collection
Concluding our Play Doh reviews is the Sparkle Compound Collection, which includes six cans of sparkle modeling compound. It is the perfect set for creating shiny creations, hence a great gift for girls.
The kit comes with two cuttings for creating different shapes like flowers, gems and more. There are endless creation possibilities. This set is recommended for children aged three years and up.
- Six colors of sparkly modeling compound
- Play dough packaged in recyclable cans
- Includes two cutters
What To Look For Before Buying?
Choosing a play dough set for kids is fairly easy once you know what to look for. Officially branded products are always the best choice since legit companies invest a lot of years in research and testing.
That said, there are few factors you should consider before making any purchase.
Here are the KEY things we focused on when compiling a list of the best play dough sets:
Your child’s interest
While they do offer educational value, play dough sets are primarily designed to entertain. As such, it is important to consider your child’s interest when making a purchase. If your child loves spending time in the kitchen, a cooking play dough set will encourage them to explore their interest in cooking. Some kits allow children to create props to pay tribute to their favorite games and TV shows. If your child doesn’t have a particular interest yet, a bumper kit can help them explore their options and discover their creative side.
Ease of use
Because you are purchasing a play dough set for a 3-year-old, it is important that you take into account its ease of use. A play dough set should be easy for your little boy or girl to set up without help. Keep in mind that the ease of use may vary depending on age. However, kits designed for children are easy enough to figure out.
Ease of cleaning
This is a huge one considering how messy children can be. Play dough kits with baskets, trays, cutting and shaping accessories should be easy to clean. Many mothers are busy juggling things at home and work. As such, having an hour to clean play dough kits isn’t easy.
The number of accessories included depends on the kit purchased. More accessories are always best because they offer bigger variety and more room to be creative. If going for a variety mold, look for a stamps, variety of molding compound, cutter shapes and squeezers. Cooking themed kits may include an oven, baking tray and trays while a construction kit may come with a steamroller.
Regardless of the play doh set you choose, it’s important to go for as many colors as possible. You want your kids to experiment with different things, and offering a variety of colors stimulates them mentally and ensures they don’t get bored.
Overall ratings from parents
Reviews from parents can tell you a great deal about play dough sets and toys in general. It allows you to easily discern themes for different toys and if they are right for your kid. In addition, parent reviews identify positives and negatives of particular sets. Keep in mind that a 1/5-star rating isn’t always what it seems. Some customers give bad reviews due to confusion. Take time to read the actual reviews for more information about a product.
Does Play Doh Set Dry Out?
Yes, Play Doh sets dry out if not stored properly or left out in the open. It loses its pliable consistency, making it difficult to mold and craft with. The good news is that there are many ways to revive dried out Play Doh.
The first method is to use water. Place the dough on a flat surface, add a few drops of water and knead the dough. Repeat the process until you achieve the desired consistency.
You can also use water and paper towel. Use water to dampen the paper towel then wrap it around the play dough. Place the dough in a covered container and leave it overnight. Remove the paper towel and knead the Play Doh until it is pliable.
The third method involves using glycerin. Place the Play Doh on a flat surface, make an indentation in the middle with your finger and pour a ½ teaspoon of glycerin. Knead the dough for several seconds and if necessary, add ¼ teaspoon of glycerin. Keep going until you achieve a pliable consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What ingredients are used to make Play Doh?
While it is proprietary, Play Doh cites that they use water, flour and salt as the primary ingredients for their products. It contains wheat, and is free of milk by products, peanuts and peanut oil. The Play Doh modeling compounds are completely safe, nontoxic and non-irritating. However, caution is advised if your child is allergic to gluten or wheat.
2. How can you preserve play dough creations?
Because it is designed for repeated use, Play Doh can make great creations. The downside is that those creations can crack if allowed to crack. A good way to avoid this and create long lasting creations is to use oven curable clay from the local crafts store.
3. How do I remove play dough from my upholstery, couch and fabrics?
Using hot water to remove play dough from upholstery will only make things worse. Wait for it dry and use a stiff brush to loosen it. You may have to clean with warm water and soap or vacuum your couch.
Every child benefits a great deal from using play dough sets. They are budget friendly toys that promote literacy and numeracy, encourage independence, provide learning opportunities, enhance hand mobility and more. And while there is no such thing as a play dough set for boys or girls, children experience the same kind of joy when playing with play dough.
We hope the above play dough set reviews have helped narrow down your options. The buyer’s guide section offers more advice on what factors to consider when identifying the right play dough set for your child. Keep in mind that play dough sets are meant to entertain, so the primary concern should be fulfilling your child’s interests.
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