I know I keep harping on this, but I hate messes! I was reluctant to let L use playdoh for exactly that reason — I didn’t want to find little pieces of dried out playdoh all over the floor. I always have to remind myself that it’s good developmentally to allow your child to make messes — and then to teach her how to clean it up by herself. So I made a playdoh tray.
You can put a variety of things on playdoh trays — basically any tools you have that could be used with playdoh! I chose two small cookie cutters and a small cheese knife, because that’s what I had laying around. You could also use a small rolling pin or playdoh presses. I put a small amount of playdoh into a bowl with a lid. I have found that even I have a difficult time opening playdoh containers, and it is impossible for a toddler to do by herself. This bowl with a lid is easier for L to do by herself, building her independence and fine motor skills. I have showed her that when she is finished with the playdoh she has to pick up all the little pieces and put them back in the bowl. L loves cleaning up, so this has eliminated the problem I was worried about of dried out playdoh all over the floor. I always make sure that the lid to the bowl is tightly closed so the playdoh doesn’t dry out overnight.