Creative Sensory Play: Building with Play Dough and Rocks

Have you ever tried combining play dough with rocks? It offers a fantastic creative sensory play experience!

creative sensory play

Sensory play is one of my top strategies for dealing with “difficult” days. Putting play dough (we love this play dough recipe) and rocks together was my inspired solution for a day that started with a nightmare-induced meltdown from one of the kids at 4am. Tired mom plus tired kids = we need something fun that gets us thinking in creative ways to make it through the day!

creative sensory play with play dough and rocks

The play dough reminded me of the mud you sometimes see stuffed into old stone walls, so we built our own version with play dough instead of mud (add on activity: try rocks in your sandbox!) I love that this got even six-year-old Emma using her critical thinking skills to build a stable structure – and I think it could challenge an older child as well!

creative sensory play with play dough and rocks

Homes finished, we turned to furniture. Stones and play dough formed tables, chairs, and beds. I’m thinking next time we’ll try adding cars!

house, table, and chairs built with play dough and rocks

What are your favorite ways to play with play dough? Besides rocks, my kids enjoy combining play dough with googley eyes, marbles, and pattern blocks!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

12 thoughts on “Creative Sensory Play: Building with Play Dough and Rocks”

  1. I’m always looking for new ideas with play dough and I have a big jar of rocks that will be perfect for this. Bonus, they won’t roll away like marbles do!

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    This is great! Way to think proactively when your day started so dreadfully. That playdough looks delightfully squishy!

  3. Shannon Niebuhr

    I love this combination of textures, but even more I love your application of the materials to “making a stable structure.” What a way to get the kids noticing walls all around them!

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