Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.

May 18, 2013

Welcome back to the "Playful Maths" series brought to you by

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


Last week I shared Acorn Number Balancing Game.

This weeks Playful Maths Activities use the sensory material Play dough. 

In this activity we are focusing on numbers, counting & addition.
Other skills involved include fine motor, one-to-one correspondence, subitising, counting-on, number recognition etc.

Ages: 2+ (Maddie is currently 4)
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Playdough Flower Mat, playdough, dice, foam numbers (optional)

I presented this activity as an Invitation to Play so that she could choose which materials and combinations to use but I explained to her that I would love to see some petals on the flower and suggested she decide on a number somehow. I also suggested that she could pop her chosen number in the centre of the flower so she'd remember how many petals to make.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
Being that she is 4 years old, the number 4 is often her first choice. She opted for rummaging through the foam numbers to find the number first. This is great for number recognition.

(we used foam number stickers but I asked her to leave the back on the sticker so we could change them over easily and reuse the stickers)

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
Developing fine-motor skills and strengthening hand muscles pulling of the playdough and rolling it into balls.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
Squishing down to make petals. We talked a lot about size while trying to make petals that were fairly even in size.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
Practicing counting to check we have the correct amount of petals. Encourage counting along as they make each petal for 1:1 correspondence.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
We rolled 2 dice together to encourage simple addition and counting-on. I encouraged her to subitise the larger number and then count on from there. 
(With the two 6's, you'd encourage them to point to the first die, say "6" and then point to the other die and count on "7, 8, 9..etc" instead of counting from 1 through to 12)

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
 It was challenging to make 12 even sized petals to all fit around

When something is a little challenging, this is a good time for you to get all excited about it to help engage and excite the child too. Challenges can be fun and interesting but many children see challenges as something that's "too hard" or that they "can't do" just because they have to work at it a little bit. This can be a child first response so you just need to help demonstrate the right attitude and way to go about it. Offer all the help they need and make it fun! eg "Ooooh, 12! What a big number. Wow! How are we going to fit them all around? I wonder what size we'll have to make them? What do you think?" etc

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
Well done. You did it! (Offer tons of encouragement). Can you make the number 12 from the foam numbers? We used this to work on teen numbers and as 11 and 12 can be tricky ones for children, the more times they can practice, the better.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
Throw the dice!

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.
"Look, I'm putting the numbers on!" Adding corresponding foam numbers to petals. 

Provide the materials and the children will find their own way to use them. Ways you mightn't have thought of.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths
The number 6

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths
Yes, let's get creative!

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths
Playdough Mats are great to use with children. They can form the basis of a whole lot of different creative and learning experiences and they're easy to make and swap and change around.

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful Maths.

I must admit that I did try to get all fancy and whip one up digitally for you but I'm afraid my skills were rather lacking so I ended up just sketching one by hand to use instead. You're welcome to a copy if you'd like one. Just click the picture to go to the google drive and then print from there or save to your own computer. Once printed I recommend laminating it like we did to make it reusable.

Handy Tips

- Simplify this activity by allowing your child to create free petals for the flower and then encourage them to count how many they've made. You can slowly introduce one die or some magnetic numbers etc

- Extend this activity by:
  • Encouraging the use of the 2 dice together for addition practice.
  • Add a 3rd dice for an added challenge 
  • practice simple subtraction by taking away the smaller number from the larger number.
  • Using a number die to encourage number recognition
  • Have children write the number or even simple number sentences on the mat with a dry erase marker. These can be wiped off a laminated mat easily.

- Mix it up with different coloured playdough and add in extra creative materials such as sequins and craft sticks and beads

- Change the activity by using the mat with dry erase markers instead of playdough

- Use the mathematical language that goes naturally with this activity, such as, "how many," "size," "big," "small," "long," short," etc

- Did you see our Playful Maths with Natural Materials? Turns out they were very popular so if you haven't seen them, click the pictures below to check them out. 
   Symmetrical patterns with shells and natural objects Number pebbles for counting and addition games  Acorn Number Game for Kids. Balancing Fun

You can see the rest of our Playful Maths here. So far we've covered a range of easily accessible materials, many of which were recycled or came from nature. 

Don't forget to join us next week where we're bringing you more Playful Maths activities.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

Follow the entire series on our

Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
New Here? Subscribe to get all activities sent directly to you
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your free printable! And I love all the extensions! I featured your printable as the Free Printable of the Day at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page (and on Pinterest)

    1. You're welcome Deb, and thanks so much for sharing :)

  2. I absolutely love this activity. Creative, inviting and fun. All of the tips you included at the end are great and I love that there are so many options. My son is going to have a great time with this! Pinning.

  3. I love reading how you extend math learning in such a fun way. This is a great activity to build a deep understanding of math concepts. Thanks for linking this post to Discover and Explore. I hope you'll be back to share for our museum and fine arts theme this week.

  4. Can you believe that we have never used playdough mats! :) They look so fun and I know Jack would really love it.

  5. Yes, I'm embarrassed to say that as much as my son loves play dough I've never done any playdough mats with him. Thanks for the inspiration. Pinning this for a must try :-)

  6. Gosh that smiley play dough person just makes me grin!!!

  7. I love this playdough mat! Great way of making learning fun. :)

  8. well kids coop is throwing up some gems tonight. this is awesome. I have dutifully printed off my flower mat - i will be laminating it when i can reach the laminator - i am currently pinned in one corner of the room as Hublet runs on the running machine. When I first saw it I thought, I'll never get Goblin to do the number bit, but the dice are really clever. I think I could get him to do it if its part of a game, he's really into playing games at the moment.

  9. So many skills being used in such a simple maths game.

  10. I love that Deb! Your printable is adorable! You did a great job! I know the girls will love that.

  11. Ah, finally on the computer so I can comment.

    I love a good play dough mat. Can't wait for Cammy to try this one out.

  12. That is so pretty! I wish I'd learnt my maths from you :-) I'm sure I would have loved the subject the way you teach it!!

  13. Very clever indeed! Love the flower face the best. :)

  14. Deb, how did I miss this the first time around?! I just stumbled across it on PInterest. I love it! Thanks. (And you draw waaaay better than me, so I'm downloading yours now.)

  15. Seems like a fun activity! :) Very creative. :D

  16. This looks like such a fun activity. I mean, who doesn't love learning when play dough is involved?! I would absolutely love for you to come share this at our Pinning for Play link up (and any other posts):

    I can't wait to give this to my daughter. She will love it!

  17. What a beautiful printable and a fun way to practice numbers! My flower-loving daughter will love this. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Handling Solutions Products - Here is the link of best Handling Solutions products of Taldeen. Taldeen is one of the best Plastic Manufacturing Company Based in Saudi Arabia-Hail. Visit the below links to know more about products details
    Handling Solutions
    Plastic Pallets
    BSc in Optometry – Here is the details about Best BSc Optometry Colleges In Bangalore. If you are looking to study in Bangalore, the below link will redirect to a page that will show the best OPT colleges in Bangalore. If you are looking to study BSc Optometry in Bangalore, click the below link.
    Optometry Colleges In Bangalore

  19. Your room space is a very important space to require pleasure in along with your unit as you eat along. Thus, it should contain options that incorporate all-natural sophistication with economical sturdiness. A room gallery permits you to choose the absolute best options for your home, specializing in-room preparation, room woodwork, and room counters to remodel your goal room into reality. Click Here to read more.
    Read more at:
    Padded mat for kitchen

  20. Hello, you want to make your loved one happy to please your loved ones, use flower delivery on this site for you, and we have the best price of flowers meets our high standards and ensures that your bouquet will look as beautiful as on this site

  21. Interesting post. I was wondering about this, so thanks for posting. Pretty interesting post. It's really nice and useful.
    infected days


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love reading them all.