Since 1970, Play-Doh has sold more than 950 million pounds of its iconic Modeling Compound … a well-loved mixture of flour, water, salt, and food coloring that has somehow become one of the most popular toys of all time. Unlike the electronic screens or complicated gadgets that seem to be everywhere these days, Play-Doh is a wholesome way to encourage your child’s creative development while also providing hours and hours of entertainment.
The Best Play-Doh Playsets are the ones that utilize the famous Modeling Compound to take the whole experience to the next level. Whether it is a pretend sizzling grill for Play-Doh pancakes, or a smiling steamroller for putty-based roads, these playsets amplify your child’s imagination in big ways, and rarely for more than twenty bucks.
We’ve rounded up 17 of the Best Play-Doh Playsets on the web for review, and are presenting them here in an effort to make the buying process just a little bit easier.
If there is one thing that kids these days understand, it is that breakfast is a meal that can be enjoyed any time of day. No need to wait for those crispy waffles, perfect eggs, or fresh fruit. Now, your kid can have all that and more with the Breakfast Café kit from Play-Doh. This full-service greasy spoon can make every kind of breakfast food you can imagine, including all-time favorites like pancakes and high-stacked waffles with fruit and whip cream. There is even a pump-mold for creating realistic looking bacon strips. All in all, it might just be the most appetizing toy yet.
With the Cookout Creations Barbecue Set, kids now have an awesome way to play grill-master, emulating their dad in grilling up perfect burgers, succulent hot dogs, and fresh toppings. This little BBQ Grill features a swing-open lid press with built-in grill markers, allowing kids to make realistic-looking burger patties with the included brown molding compound. A blue rotating skewer also lets kid prepare vegetarian kabobs, utilizing all the vegetables in the Play-Doh pantry. A set of plastic buns makes this set highly reusable and very sturdy, but the real selling point here is the relatively low price compared to some of the other Kitchen Creations sets.
The Play-Doh Factory Set is one of the best-selling Play-Doh products there is, and quite possibly, one of the most popular toddler toys of all time. This machine allows kids to press their Play-Doh Molding Compound into fun and unique shapes, while also giving them the chance to blend colors in awesome ways. Now, all the fun of the Play-Doh factory can be immediately amplified with the Deluxe Factory Kit, which includes the original Factory toy as well as a 30+ piece collection of different shapes, molds, and templates. There is literally no limit to what your kid can create with these awesome tools!
It seems like they are always coming up with new and exciting ways to use Play-Doh, and why not? It happens to be one of the most free form toys that you can buy, and allows the child to do just about whatever they want with it. Now, kids have the opportunity to try their hand at dentistry and orthodontics with the Play-Doh Doctor Drill ‘N Fill Set. This cartoony playset includes a man with big teeth that can be cleaned, drilled, inspected, and finally, fixed with Play-Doh braces using the accompanying molds and squirt dispenser. It doesn’t matter if your kid hasn’t expressed any interest in playing dentist … this is a fun, unique set that it sure to provide lasting entertainment worth well more than the few dollars that it costs.
This is one of the more classic Play-Doh accessory machines, it having been around almost as long as Play-Doh itself. By lining up the shape template with the presser exit, it is possible to turn basic Play-Doh molding Compound into long strands of interesting shapes. You can also try squishing multiple different colors together, just to see what colors and patterns come out the other end! The Shape Maker also comes with two different cans of Play-Doh Molding Compound, which is enough to get started, but you might want to stock up just in case!
This is one of the more innovative Play-Doh kits that we have seen this year, and we can only expect that it is going to be one of the more popular gift options for this holiday season. The Buzz ‘N Cut Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop gives kids the incredible opportunity to become a Play-Doh Barber, both growing and trimming the hair on a silly figurine. Pack the chamber, crank the lever, and streams of brightly colored Play-Doh hair will come streaming out of the head. Then, your kid can use either the safe scissors or trimmer to cut the hair down to size. The boy model even includes a beard!
Kids as young as three are going to love the Gravel Yard Construction Toy Set, which gives them control of their very own gravel and pavement company. First, the special edition pavement-colored Play-Doh goes into the hand-crank grinder, where it will be broken down into gravel-like chunks. From there, it falls into the back of a big green dump truck, where it can be transported to the work site. Finally, a steamroller can come along and squish the Play-Doh down into a flat road surface. The only thing missing is a group of 3 or 4 figurines to stand around and ‘supervise’, but we’re guessing that your kid might just have a few action figures lying around that could do the trick.
Grilling out doesn’t have to be complicated. With the Burger Barbecue Playset, part of Play-Doh’s immensely popular Kitchen Creations series, kids can whip up fresh-grilled hamburger meals in a jiffy, using the included utensils, molds, and plates for a highly detailed and scrumptious looking meal. It works by simply loading the grill with the colored molding compound of choice, then pressing the lid down. In an instant, your kid will have textured beef patties, sliced mushrooms and onions, and a fluffy hamburger bun … everything needed for the perfect burger! We should also note that there is a textured hot dog press … so the dog lovers out there don’t have to be left out.
Play-Doh’s ultra-popular Kitchen Creations series has released a lot of cool Play-Doh-based baking toys in the last year, but none of them came close to offering the same level of decorative cake making that the Cake Party set does. With tons of different decorative molds and shape accessories, there is hardly any limit to the kind of fanciful pretend cakes that can be made here. There is even a rotating frosting tray that lets kids create wonderfully detailed frosting patterns on their make-believe creations. A plastic-bubble display dome is a particularly nice touch.
If you are one of the many parents out there who seem to be on a mission to turn their kids into young foodies, then this is the kit for you. This set of molds, shapes, texture rollers, and Doh containers is the perfect way to create pretend sweets and treats … everything from a tri-color popsicle to a bowl of freeze-dried ice cream. There is also a delicious-looking waffle cone base that can be used to make ice cream cones with as many scoops and your child’s heart desires. While this kit works great on its own, it is also a good way to beef up any holiday Play-Doh gift or stuff those stockings.
Meet Max, one of the cutest and hardest working members of the Play-Doh village. This functioning cement truck lets kids load their raw Play-Doh Molding Compound into the back of his mixer. Closing the lid will allow Max to process the Doh into a stream of concrete, which can be used for all sorts of purposes. But another thing that Max is quite good at is road making! He is equipped with a big blue steam roller that can turn the processed ‘concrete’ into smooth, lined road surfaces. If only real-life highway crews were this efficient!
Never before have kids been able to craft their own magical ponies and unicorns, straight from the globally popular My Little Ponies franchise. By filling the included molds with different colored Play-Doh, kids are able to create highly customized ponies that come out of the molds looking fabulous. Then, it’s time to do a little decorating, adding brilliant flowing manes and graceful tails, not to mention more specialty magical add-ons like unicorn horns and wings. Because different colors can be used for each element, this is one of the most exciting starter Play-Doh Playsets that money can buy.
The Noodle Makin’ Mania Set is another press-pump style Play-Doh Toy, but this one has a few unique features that really set it apart from the competition. For one, this is the only hit where you can get the exclusive citrus press, and awesome little mold toy that creates lemons and citrus fruit out of two different colored molding compounds. The result is not only awesome-looking, but allows kids to make their very own blended fruit smoothie with a citrus slice garnish. Part of the Kitchen Creations series, this is a great addition to any Play-Doh set, and comes with 4 cans of molding compound so it’s great for new Play-Doh lovers as well.
There is something incredibly exciting about preparing pretend meals and baked goods with Play-Doh, one of the most imaginative and rule-free toys that there is. The Kitchen Creations Magical Oven allows your kid to turn the basic Molding Compound into a number of delicious-looking pretend foods, including a lattice pie, chocolate chip cookies, or beautifully decorated wedding cakes. There are also pans and templates for both muffins and cinnamon rolls, allowing your child to operate their own fully-functional bakery. A colorful interface and pretend digital timer add a touch of realism to an otherwise fantastic toy.
Because it is going to be a few long years before your child is old enough to cook for you, it’s best to start them out on something simple so that they might actually be a good cook for your retirement years. The Sizzlin’ Stovetop Playset is one of the newest additions to the Kitchen Creations series of Play-Doh toy sets, and we think it might be one of the best. With two different pressure-sensitive stove-top panels, kids will hear an appetizing sizzle sound once the pan comes in contact. Whether it is grilled fish, pan-fried vegetables, or a t-bone steak, your kid will have everything they need to whip up a delicious make-believe stove-top meal.
The Play-Doh toy sets these days just keep getting cooler and cooler. Here we have a fully-featured wood-style pizza oven with a cool brick pattern and multiple different tools to help you kid make the best pizza pies imaginable. It all starts by mixing the Play-Doh compound in the turn-crank mixer, where it will come out as pizza dough that can be pressed into the baking pan. When it comes out, the Play-Doh Pizza will be imprinted with all the classic shapes of pizza, from mushrooms to pepperonis. A set of brightly colored recipe cards can walk even younger children through the steps of creating their favorite pizzas.
Everybody loves cookies, and for kids and toddlers this is especially true. Not, you kids can experience the delicious fun of the cookie and pastry-making game with their very favorite moldable play material, Play-Doh! This innovative kids pretend baking set includes all the tools of the bakery trade, including frosting basters, cooking sheets with molded shapes, and a rolling pin that creates wacky and exciting patters on the surface of the Play-Doh. Also included with this set is 5 cans of the Play-Doh Molding Compound, so you can rest assured that there will be plenty of pretend cookies to go around.
The Ultimate Play-Doh Set Buying Guide – 2021 Edition
Because they have been around for half a century, Play-Doh has had a lot of time to perfect their formula, not only for their iconic sculpting dough, but also for the way they encourage kids to use that dough to create magical, wonderful things. From mouth-watering pretend burgers to majestic, rainbow-colored unicorns, there is simply nothing that cannot be created when there is enough Play-Doh to go around.
However, Play-Doh’s immense popularity in the marketplace also means that there are way more Play-Doh sets than most people can even imagine. While our list is a good summary of the ‘best-of’ Play-Doh sets this season, it is by no means a complete listing of what kinds of sets are available.
For this reason it certainly wouldn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about how to shop for Play-Doh, both the fun playsets and the backup Molding Compound. In this guide, we are going to share some of the things that we learned in the process of putting our reviews together.
At the end, we’ll reveal our Top Pick Play-Doh Playset for the 2021 holiday season.
The Four Ways That Play-Doh Helps Children Succeed
If you’ve gotten this far in our Buyer’s Guide, then we can safely assume that you are almost ready to purchase your next Play-Doh Playset for your little girl or boy. But for those of you who are still on the fence, it might be helpful to take a look at all the surprising ways that Play-Doh can actually encourage your child’s ongoing physical, mental, and educational development.
Here are a few more reasons why Play-Doh is one of the best-value educational development toys on the market:
1.) Vocabulary Skills
Whether your kid is squishing, smooshing, flattening, or forming, Play-Doh sculpting clay offers kids access to a world of words and phrases that they might not otherwise encounter until much later in life. This is one reason why sitting down with your child and enjoying some shared Play-Doh time is even more beneficial for the development of such skills.
2.) Concentration & Patience
Unlike digital screens and electronic gadgets, Play-Doh is not an action packed activity. In fact, it is very much the opposite. As a slow, self-paced activity, Play-Doh allows children to build their creations on their own time, requiring extended periods of quiet focus in order to achieve their vision. This kind of quiet play can significantly increase a child’s ability to sit still and concentrate, something that will be very helpful to them as they enter school and start their long educational career.
3.) Fine Motor Skills
Play-Doh Sculpting Compound is a very physical, visceral activity, requiring all ten fingers and more. By giving a kid space to create whatever is in their imaginations, you are also encouraging them to train their fingers, hand muscles, and coordination systems in ways that they have not yet experienced. The trial & error process of trying to make something out of Play-Doh is an incredibly formative process, both for the clay and for the child alike. Some of the deluxe Play-Doh playsets on our list feature utensils, levers, knobs, and other things that will help your child practice the finer movements that help train the hand and mind.
4.) Imagination & Creativity
Because Play-Doh is a rule-free, risk-free toy that offers kids a place to freely experiment, it is actually quite good and encouraging creative thought in children as young as 2. When a kid plays with Play-Doh, they are allowed, perhaps for the first time, to create whatever they can dream up. Learning the power of creative though early in life has been shown to be beneficial to abstract thought processes as they relate to test scores, college placement, and even how much money they will make when they are grown.
The Basics: What Is Play-Doh Anyway?
A surprising number people have never really stopped to ask themselves what Play-Doh actually is. Sure, most folks can tell you that it is a kid’s sculpting clay … the stuff you had when you were a kid and you used to make temporary sculptures and figurines.
To put it simply, Play-Doh is a safe, non-toxic modeling compound that can be used for just about anything. Because of Play-Doh’s soft, malleable texture and bright vivid colors, it has been popular with children since its very inception in 1970. Today, Play-Doh Modeling Compound can be purchased as a stand-alone toy, or alongside some fancy Playsets that are designed to get even more out of this wonderfully simple invention.
So what’s in Play-Doh? Here’s the basic recipe:
- Mineral Oil
That’s it, just five household ingredients that have been expertly mixed and blended to provide the perfect texture right out of the plastic container. Though it is totally safe, it is important to note that Play-Doh is not a food item and is not intended to be eaten.
Getting The Most From Your Doh: Play-Doh Playsets And Sculpting Toys
While there is a good chance that if you sit your toddler down with nothing but a small 2ox container of Play-Doh, they will most likely find a way to entertain themselves with it. But in order to get the absolute most of this wonderful sculpting compound toy, you have to pair the Play-Doh with one of the awesome Playsets featured on our review, or one like it.
These super-affordable toys are designed to work with Play-Doh in innovative ways to create special shapes, textures, and temporary toys. It could be a grilled clay burger or a pretend purple unicorn pony … these playsets can do just about anything you can think of.
While most Play-Doh playsets come with a few containers of compound, it never hurts to purchase more, seeing as how cheap and available it has become. Also, Play-Doh has a tendency to dry out and crumble, and it doesn’t hurt to replace it every now and then.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Q: How do you keep Play-Doh from drying out?
A: Because Play-Doh is such a simple thing, re-moistening the compound is actually pretty easy. Even severely dehydrated Play-Doh can be brought ‘back to life’ in most cases. Start by adding a few drops of water to the Play-Doh, then knead it slowly into the mixture. Add more water as needed until the desired consistency is needed.
Another way to re-hydrate your child’s dry Play-Doh is to simply place a small piece of damp paper towel inside the Play-Doh can. Then, place the dry Play-Doh in with it, and seal it up for the night. By the time you open the container, you should have some nice, soft Play-Doh to work with. You can even teach your kid how to do this regularly, meaning that you ideally won’t have to buy new Play-Doh tins nearly as often.
Q: Is it possible to preserve my child’s Play-Doh creation in a permanent way?
A: So your kid made something awesome, and you want to keep it forever. You’re not alone there. As a parent, you want to preserve everything you can. Unfortunately, Play-Doh is not designed to act like modeling clay. If you let it dry out, then it will start cracking and the sculpture will likely fall apart.
One idea that a lot of parents suggest is to let you kid practice with Play-Doh, and then when they are ready, you can have them re-create their sculpture in kids’ modeling clay, the kind that you can bake in the oven.
Q: How hard is it to get Play-Doh out of upholstery or carpet?
A: One important thing to note about Play-Doh is that the easiest way to clean it up is to wait for it to dry completely. Don’t use warm water, like you would with most messes. Water will only cause the Play-Doh to melt deeper into the carpet, and although it does not cause permanent stains, it will be a lot harder to get out.
Whether it is clothing, carpet, or upholstery, simply wait for the Play-Doh to dry and then go at it with a dry brush and/or vacuum. The dry particles will release from the fabric much easier that wet particles would.
Conclusion: The Best Play-Doh Playsets
We have to admit, we’re a little bit jealous that Play-Doh has become so cool since our own childhood. With such exciting, detailed playsets, Play-Doh can now be used to create more things than ever before, all with hardly more than a little squeezing and squishing.
The best Play-Doh Playset is going to be the one that most faithfully magnifies the true Play-Doh experience, which is one of boundless creativity and ingenuity. It also has to be sturdy and affordable, otherwise parents simply aren’t going to be interested. For these reasons, our official recommendation for the Top Pick Play-Doh playset of the year is the Deluxe Fun Factory Machine. This full-featured playset has everything needed to work up the craziest, most intricate Play-Doh masterpieces that can possibly be imagined, all with little more the squish of a plastic lever.
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