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Ocean Play Dough Invitation to Play

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Ocean Play Dough ocean play dough sensory play activity for toddlers

This ocean play dough activity is so much fun! Playing with modeling clay or play dough is one of our favorite activities. There is so much opportunity to imagine and create, while giving fine motor skills a great workout!  We love sensory play, and this ocean theme adds some awesome sensory awareness to your play dough activity, with great colors, smells and textures.

ocean play dough materials

What you need for the ocean play dough activity

We created a couple shades of blue with a homemade play dough recipe. We used the stove top cooking method, but there are other great recipes available online. You can also use store bought play dough.

We chose the darker blue for this activity for its deep sea effect!

You can even use more than one color for your ocean if preferred.

ocean play dough painting whitecaps

Begin by painting some pieces of pasta (lasagna) for ‘white caps’. The wrinkles in the pasta really resemble waves, don’t they?

Allow the paint to dry while you prepare the ‘ocean’.


ocean play dough image 1

Use a tray for this activity to provide a defined area for the ‘ocean’.

Spread the play dough over most of the tray, using palms and finger tips and thumbs. Flip the play dough over once or twice to get the smooth side up. This is a great exercise for strengthening your little one’s hands.

Optional: add some ‘sand’ to one portion of the tray. We used oatmeal!

You can limit the play to just the ocean if preferred and have just as much fun!

ocean play dough image 2

Complete your ocean scene with small rocks and sea shells and some ocean animals.

Your toddler will want to move the sea creatures around: swimming through the waves, balancing on rocks, and digging in the sand.

The environment could get a little messy but this is all part of the experience.

ocean play dough square image

About the Author

Heather is a former preschool teacher and founder of, a website providing early learning resources for teachers and parents. She focuses on creating fun crafts and activities that engage developmental skills while promoting hands-on learning through play. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ 

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