Thursday, May 30, 2024

The World of Play-Doh

The World of Play-Doh


Play-Doh is a non-toxic modeling material for young children, for older children and, of course, for the young at heart. It is made from a blend of wheat flour, water, salt, boric acid, and mineral oil. Join me here as I review a bit of the history of the iconic play compound.


Play-Doh was first made as a wallpaper cleaner in the United States in the 1930s and became a children’s product in the 1950s when it appeared at an educational convention and was eventually used in schools. Initially the department store Woodward and Lothrop took on the product but when Macy’s and Marshall Field’s saw how popular the modelling compound was, they also took it on. Play-Doh did not have money for advertising so, in what turned out to be a stroke of genius, they arranged for Captain Kangaroo, the then massively popular children’s show, to use it on air once a week. The rest is, as they say, history.


The Accidental Birth of Play-Doh: Uncover the complete company history via interesting, 10-minute long YouTube video:


Play-Doh has continued to be popular in the decades that followed and is now available in an endless array of sets that include everything from cans of dough to items like the perennially popular Fun Factory to pop culture themes of the day like Star Wars and Disney. The product made the Toy Industry’s Association Century of Toys List in 2003.


Play-Doh is a wonderful product for developing children’s skills. Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are enhanced with all of the pushing, squishing, squeezing, and pinching that is required to play with the product. Literacy and numeracy are promoted when a child creates shapes and numbers and acts out stories. Calm and focus are a natural result of this quiet activity that also supports creativity, imagination, playtime and social skills. Whether a child has a few colors of the modeling material or many colors, the options are endless.


According to the video shown above, Play-Doh is available in over 80 countries today and the current owner, Hasbro, produces over 500 million cans of the modeling compound each year.

Is there a can of Play-Doh in your future?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. What a fascinating story of a toy that has been around forever (it seems). I know my children enjoyed playing with it, and now my grandchildren do. Loved learning the background of this iconic toy.

    1. Good morning, Elf. I agree, Play-doh's story is very interesting. I'm actually thinking it would be fun to gift Play-Doh sets to the adults in our family at Christmastime. Just for the memories.

  2. I don't know how many cans of Play-Doh are in my future, but I do know there have been dozens of cans of Play-Doh in my past. I always loved the little presses that would make shapes from Play-Doh. I certainly remember Captain Kangaroo, but did not realize he was responsible to promoting Play-Doh. I guess we could call him an early Influencer! I also did not realize Play-Doh was originally created to clean wallpaper. Very interesting review, indeed!

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. I watched Captain Kangaroo -- he was definitely my go to show along with Sesame Street -- but I had no idea he shared Play-Doh. Yes, he was an early influencer and they didn't disclaim that there was product placement in the show either, LOL!

  3. Well I know my kids loved Playdoh! Me not so much as they would mush it into the carpet and there it would harden like a rock. But, I still bought them more when they wanted it. It's good fun and enhancing children's creativity is a good thing. Now I'm going to use it to clean my wallpaper! LOL

  4. I, too, grew up watching Captain Kangaroo (and Mr. Green Jeans) and playing with Play-Doh. In a world where kids’ attention spans are short and everyone seems focused on finding the next “shiny new thing,” Play-Doh’s continuing popularity over so many decades is a testament to its enduring appeal to our need for play and creativity.

  5. To think I played with this product as a kid, and my kids did as well tells the whole story of a toy that stands the test of time! I think this could also be a good de-stresser for adults at this point in life :)

    1. Yes, I too agree that it would be a great gift idea for adults!


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