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Modeling dough is a malleable material meant for tactile, exploratory play. A preferred sculptural material for young children, most doughs are nontoxic and made out of a flour-based mixture that is soft and easy for small hands to shape. Best for temporary creations, modeling dough is meant not to be dried out but to be reused and reformed for hours of play. Our picks below will help you find the best modeling dough for the young ones in your life.
1. Mad Mattr Modeling Dough
Safe for ages 3 and up, Mad Mattr is a nontoxic dough that is casein, gluten, and wheat free, making it an allergy-friendly alternative to most modeling doughs on the market. Each packet contains 10 ounces of dough in one of many bright colors. It is highly reusable and is specially designed to not dry out. This long-lasting dough is made out of a supersoft modeling compound that can be stretched thin to a fluffy, liquid-like consistency or pressed together for solid dough that can be easily sculpted.
2. Play-Doh Modeling Compound
One of the most recognized names in modeling dough, Play-Doh is certified nontoxic and safe for children ages 2 and up. With the largest selection of colors to choose from, this 24-pack in 3-ounce easy-to-seal containers will inspire kids to craft fun, colorful creations. The dough is soft, smooth, and easy to shape, and it won’t stain or leave an oily residue, making it a breeze to clean up.
3. Chenille Kraft Creativity Street Modeling Dough
This eight-pack assortment of bright-colored modeling dough can be shaped and reshaped for endless hours of imaginative play. The dough is nontoxic and non-staining and comes in a resealable plastic tub to retain moisture. Softer and slightly stickier than some of the other products listed here, this dough can be easily shaped by small hands and is a breeze to clean up.
4. Sargent Art Art-Time Dough
This set of 6 1-pound tubs of modeling dough in primary and secondary colors is a high-quality but cost-effective option. The soft and squishy dough is easy to shape without crumbling and the colors themselves are satisfyingly vibrant. It’s non-toxic and safe for use by young children, but note that it is not gluten-free. The scent is light and not as savory as play-doh, which may be helpful if your little ones are prone to sneak nibbles of their dough.
5. Jovi Plastilina Modeling Clay
Jovi Plastilina clay is a reusable clay that offers the benefits of artistic modeling clay with the workability of modeling dough. Like the clay used by stop-motion artists, it is sturdy enough to make fine details and hold its shape without drying out, but unlike those clays it is quite soft and easily malleable by small hands. One downside is that the clay doesn’t come in storage pots.