Wooden Play Dough Toys

Doh! All Played OutMelissa & Doug Shape Model and Mold Clay activity set with three rollers and four containers of play clay

  • What: Melissa & Doug Shape Model and Mold Clay Activity Set
  • When: 2 years and up
  • Why Not: Hard to use, more expensive
  • Where: Amazon

Normally I vastly prefer quality wooden toys over their plastic counterparts. But when it comes to play dough, this set of toys from Melissa & Doug (a brand of toys I normally love) disappoints. Although it includes four small containers of dough to manipulate, both my kids and I preferred the brand name Play-Doh modeling compound.

I will be first in line to bash on the hazards of play dough, but if we use it, it might as well be fun for my kids. We received this set as a gift, and I’m surprised we still have it. I can find every piece from the set except for the dough itself, which dried out before I learned my handy trick to make it malleable again, and we tossed it. But because we don’t bother to get the other toys in the set out, all the pieces still stay in the original wooden tray packaging.

Rollers and cutter from Melissa and Dough Clay Activity Set

These four pieces of the set work great.

The rollers all work wonderfully, and they make great patterns on dough. My kids love the smooth and waffle patterns, though no one ever wants the lined roller. I like that the set comes with three rollers, so each kid can use one with minimal fussing or taking turns required. The rolling cutter also works fine, and we’ve used it to make edged designs. But rather than improving on the plastic counterparts, it only equals but doesn’t exceed them in construction or creating fabulous designs.

The wooden blocks that come included don’t do anything except get dough stuck in the shaped end. They look appealing, but have never once worked for us, and I end up trying to pick the dough out of the wooden blocks. Mostly the dough dries in there. I’ve knocked it out a time or two thinking maybe this time will be the magic time they work, but each kid has tried them precisely once before giving up on them, and I should, too.

Wooden cube designs for use with modeling clay and play dough

These four wooden blocks only create a bigger nuisance when dough gets stuck in all the grooves.

The dough containers came with lids that can double as molds, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of my three kids use them. I vaguely recall trying them once back when we first got the set, and they didn’t impress me either. Not only that, the lids are made from plastic, and if I want plastic Play Doh toys, I know just which brand to shop.

Lids from Melissa and Doug modeling dough activity set

These four plastic lids double as molds but don’t work great, either.

So of all the pieces, only four really matter. And the higher price point means you and your kids will likely be happier selecting some of the multitude of plastic options on the market to extend your dough making and shaping fun.

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