10 Easy Farm Playdough Ideas to try with toddlers & Preschoolers

In this blog post we’ll be exploring 10 Farm playdough ideas to try with your farm-obsessed toddlers and preschoolers.

All three of my children went through a phase of being absolutely delighted by anything to do with farms and animals.  For my children, this love was sparked by plenty of farm stay holidays in their early years. Because we live in a city, we aim to get out into the countryside as much as possible.

an overhead photograph of chickens - visits often ignite interest which can then be used in play with these farm playdough ideas

But farm themes are also very popular as a topic in preschools too. From matching animals sounds to learning about how crops grow – there’s plenty for children to discover.

When I think of farm playdough ideas, I also think of Autumn as it’s the perfect time to introduce what a harvest is and why it’s important.

If your child has been inspired by a farm theme – either from a special visit you have done as a family, a book or a school topic, then read on below for 10 farm playdough ideas to try.

the image shows three different coloured playdoughs, farm animals, tractors and loose parts to give farm playdough ideas

You will need:

In order to create some farm playdough ideas, you’ll need some dough! Most of the time, we make out own using our basic play dough recipe. I recommend reading all the farm playdough ideas first as you might wish to make additional colours to the ones shown above.

Ideas For the colours and scents:

  • Black food dye
  • Yellow food dye
  • Chocolate powder
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Blue food dye
  • Green food dye
  • Glitter – (optional, we use the eco-friendly biodegradable version)

For the decoration/ presentation

  • IKEA Glis box – we find this the easiest way to present and store homemade play dough
  • Pinecones
  • Road tape
  • Small animal figures (ours are Schleich)
  • Selection of construction vehicles
  • Loose parts

What to do:

As with every single batch of play dough featured on this page, this is a no-cook recipe which should take no more than 10 minutes to make. We choose this method because my children always help me with every part of the process – it has become our thing to do together.


Option 1: add the dye to the water first

Typically when making playdough, it’s much easier to add the food dye to the water you will be using. However, if you intend to make more than one colour or scent, this can start to get tricky because you will need to separate the dry mixture between a few different bowls.

If you just intend to make one playdough for this activity – e.g. chocolate mud – then this recipe will work well:

  • Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, then add the sunflower oil. Once combined, GRADUALLY add the cooled boiled water (with any dyes added) and mix together. You want to make sure the dough isn’t too sticky so don’t add all of the water at once!
  • Next knead the dough until the mix is fully combined. We tend to get it out of the mixing bowl for this part to really make sure everything has come together. If you think it’s too dry, add a little more water or if it’s too sticky, add a spoonful or more of flour.

Because we were making a bumper pack, we then rolled the dough into a large sausage shape, then my daughter cut the dough into six sections so that we could colour and scent them.

Option 2: add the dye after the dough has been made:

As mentioned above, if you intend to make more than one colour or scent for your farm playdough ideas box, then the regular playdough method can get tricky. An alternative version is to add the dye after the dough has been made.

Once divided, make a hole in the centre of the play dough with your forefinger, then add a few drops of colour. This part takes a bit of trial and error – plus a lot of rolling and kneading- however, it is great for building up strength in the hands and fingers.


a toddler rolls out a batch of playdough and cuts it into pieces


10 Farm Playdough Ideas to try:

The farm playdough ideas below are just intended to ignite some interest. I recommend you present the playdough that you have made in a box or on a serving platter along with some loose parts and toys from your play space.

farm playdough ideas overhead shot featuring 3 scented playdoughs and a selection of loose parts


  1. Make tractor tyre marks in ‘mud’ – this is such a great mark making activity
  2. Play an animal matching game by pressing the hooves into the playdough – can they guess which hooves belong to the right animal?
  3. Roll the yellow playdough into cubes to create hay bales
  4. Make a simple sunflower using the yellow and chocolate dough
  5. Roll the playdough into tiny balls to make ‘eggs’ for the chickens
  6. Make a playdough pond for the ducks – simply opt to dye one of the playdough balls blue
  7. Make a playdough field for the animals by using green dye
  8. Dress a farmer: make clothes for a peg doll that would be suitable for a farmer
  9. Make fences: roll out the chocolate playdough into sausage shapes and build up some fences
  10. Make a vegetable patch by using the chocolate playdough and loose parts for the ‘vegetables.’

a shot of pumpkins from a farm visit - it's important to use your own real life experience for farm playdough ideas

A Simple Cheat!

If you are pressed for time, you absolutely don’t have to make the dough yourself for these farm playdough ideas to work. Homemade playdough really doesn’t win you any extra parenting points, unfortunately!

When I’m really busy with work or I’m preparing for a holiday and have too many tasks on my plate, I just buy the store-bought version to take along instead. In the photos below, you’ll see that we took a few pots with us on a farm stay vacation:

Age Recommendations

Under strict supervision, these play dough boxes can be used from around 18 months, providing you are confident that your young toddlers won’t put the play dough in their mouth – the salt content in homemade play dough is extremely high. If you want to try a no-added salt version, click here.

Regarding making the play dough together, we started doing this around the age of two.

Key Benefits

I’m forever talking about the benefits of play dough – even more so when it’s homemade by the children!

  • Sensory Play: play dough hits most of the 5 senses (except taste)
  • Language development: naming colours, scents, objects
  • Hand strength and fine motor: manipulating the play dough
  • Creative thinking: control over the direction of play
  • Numeracy: weighing and counting measurements, dividing the dough
  • Imaginary Play: acting out the roles of the animals

Autumn Blog posts to read next:

If you loved these farm playdough ideas, you might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.


Interested in learning more?

If you enjoyed these farm playdough ideas and want to learn more about sensory play and the importance of play in the early years, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Sensory Play Mini Course

Starting School Mini Course 

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.