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Play-doh vs. Polymer Modeling Clay

Updated on December 16, 2015

What is the Difference?

Play-doh vs. Polymer Modeling Clay

Both polymer clay and Play-doh are non-toxic and can be molded to create beautiful creations. The main difference is that young children, who could possibly eat the polymer clay, should not use polymer clay.

It is not food safe as the polymer clay is very porous. Do not make products out of polymer clay that will be used to house food. The concern is not the polymer clay itself but rather any left over food sitting with in the confines of a bowl made out of polymer clay. Bacteria could grow and because of the porous nature of polymer clay it can never be cleaned well enough to rid itself of the bacteria.

For more specific differences between the two keep reading.

Image Credit: openclipart.org

Tactile Fun

Children all around the world have been playing with some version of play dough for years. It is an inexpensive medium for children's play. It encourages children to be imaginative.

Are you a fan of play dough?

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"Once Play-Doh colors are mixed, there's no going back"-Dee Ann Stewart from the book entitled "What Spock Forgot"

Play-Doh or Play Dough - Pros and cons of play dough use

Play-doh 6 lb Container - Blue
Play-doh 6 lb Container - Blue

Play-Doh is the best known company that produces play dough for children, but play dough can also be produced in your own kitchen. Play dough allows you to build temporary creations.

Your imagination seems to be the limit of creation as you can buy Play-Doh in many different colors and it is easy to work with. Play dough is usually a flour based modeling product.

Benefits of Play-Doh or Play Dough

*Can be reused

*Designed for children ages 2+

*Non-toxic

*Does not stick to your hands

*Can be made in your kitchen

*You can make edible versions.

*Variety of tools and toys to add to your play-doh experience

*Easy clean up with soap and water

*More economical

Cons:

*Drys if left out too long

*If you want to save your creation it will crack when dried

*Germs can spread because it is reusable.

 

"Polymer clay is one of the most exciting, versatile, colorful artist's medium today"

-Kelly Robinson, Polymer Clay Expert

Polymer Modeling Clay vs. Pluffy - Polyform Non-Toxic Fluffy for Kids

Polyform Sculpey Pluffy Clay Variety Packs, Primary
Polyform Sculpey Pluffy Clay Variety Packs, Primary

Sculpey has a children's brand much like polymer clay called Fluffy . This line of products designed for children is called Pluffy. Pluffy can be shaped and reshaped tons of times before your child decides they have a piece of art they wish to keep. Air dry modeling clays will allow you the same options as the bake and keep variety of modeling clay without the need for the oven.

Benefits of Pluffy modelling clay

*Comes in many colors

*Does not stick to your hands

*Can be used to make keepsakes of child's art.

*Does not harden until baked

*Can be painted after baking

*Does not crack when dried

*Non-toxic

Cons

*Made for one time use

*Not edible

*In a pinch you can not make homemade polymer modeling clay

*Harder clean up

*Can stain table surfaces if they are not protected

 

Play-Doh vs. Polymer Clay - Share your thoughts about both products below

Which do you prefer?

Play-Doh

Play-Doh

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    • Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

      This is a tough choice, but for pre-school children, I'd have to go with Play-Doh.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      Good grief ... I can't believe this question is even being asked in the first place. Polymer clay is toxic ... mildly ..... But I wouldn't even let a child touch it when I was demonstrating at a local hotel. It is extremely difficult to work with and needs "conditioning" to be soft enough to mold. I used a pasta machine to soften my clay.

      Play Dough was created for kids. It isn't toxic, doesn't require baking ( which does release toxic fumes ... read the label) and is easy to use. The trade name is PLAY Dough and that should be enough to make the issue clear. It's for kids, it's safe and easy to use. Polymer clay is neither.

      Oh yes ... I'm a professional artist ... I used polymer clay for almost 15 years until the toxicity issue began to worry me. My vote is Play Dough for kids ... Polymer Clay for adults.

    • Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      That is a tough one. But I would have to go Play-Doh.

    • GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

      Play Doh for fun hands down!

    • happynutritionist 6 years ago

      I don't know which is better....but do know I played with play doh as a kid an so did my children...so to us, it's a winner

    • miaponzo 6 years ago

      Technically, I'm not sure, but I know I really prefer Play-Doh.. I love the smell, too!

    Polymer Clay

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      • Linda Pogue 6 years ago from Missouri

        The smell of Play-Doh gives me a headache.

      • CHalloran LM 6 years ago

        I love polymer clay.

      • sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

        my choice is polymer clay

      • BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

        Tough choice with the pros and cons for each. My 3 year old would be better with play-doh since she doesn't get into it as much, but my 4 year old niece likes polymer modeling clay since she's all about creating animals with it. If I had to choose, though I'd say polymer modeling clay.

      • TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

        I would go with polymer just because you can keep the creation when its done and it wont break. Kids tend to be very proud of their artistic creations. Also the more variety in colours is helpful too.

      Polymer Modeling Clay - Why all the hype?

      Sculpey III Oven Bake Clay Sampler 1oz, 30/pkg
      Sculpey III Oven Bake Clay Sampler 1oz, 30/pkg

      Polymer Modeling Clay is a plastic based clay. Polymer Clay is created by putting polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in a plasticizer. When it is baked on a low temperature in your household oven in turns the creation into hard plastic. It can be bought in over 90 colors and is very versatile to work with because it can be carved, stamped and sculpted.

      Polymer Clay has been rated as non-toxic by the Arts & Crafts institute. The only concern about the product is that potential fumes when cooking over a long period of time may cause problems over a long period of time; however, there is not much if any information to back up the claim. Some people, however, are concerned about plasticizers being released if the polymer clay is over cooked.

      Benefits of polymer modelling clay

      *Comes in many colors

      *Does not harden until baked

      *Can be painted after baking

      *Does not crack when dried

      *Non-toxic

      Cons

      *Made for one time use

      *Not edible

      *In a pinch you can not make homemade polymer modeling clay

      *Harder clean up

      *Can stain table surfaces if they are not protected

       

      More Play-Doh or Play Dough Resources

      Homemade Play Dough Recipes

      Play Play Dough

      These play dough recipes will help you make your own play dough at home from items in your kitchen pantry. Try out a few to find which recipe works best for you.

      How to Make Play Dough (Play-Doh)

      Play Dough Recipes includes a few recipes, noteably one all natural recipes with no dyes.


      More Modeling Clay Resources

      Polymer Modeling Clay Tutorials

      Modeling Clay Craft Projects

      Note: These tutorials are for adults using polymer modeling clay but can be adapted for children with Fluffy.

      Creating Friendly Farm Characters is the tutorial I decided to feature because it uses polymer modeling clay with clay pots to make clay pot characters. These farm animals are cute and adorable and your kids will have fun putting them together.

      Light Switch Plate instructions on how to make a polymer modeling clay light switch with pictures.

      Play-Doh vs. Modeling Clay Guestbook - Drop me a note

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        • Charlino99 profile image

          Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

          This is a great MonkeyBrain - and one that sculpting fans will appreciate, hands down!

        • profile image

          JoshK47 6 years ago

          Great lens - I think play doh is a great choice for the youngsters, though.

        • Linda Pogue profile image

          Linda Pogue 6 years ago from Missouri

          The worst thing about any kind of dough is when kids get it into the carpet. It is very hard to get out. That's why at my house, it is only used in the kitchen.

          I plan to have a clay day soon with my granddaughters so they can make some jewelry.

          Thanks for an interesting read.

        • CHalloran LM profile image

          CHalloran LM 6 years ago

          Thanks for featuring a link to my polymer clay lens!

        • profile image

          poutine 6 years ago

          I prefer the play dough for young kids.

        • sukkran trichy profile image

          sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

          very interesting debate. i am voting for polymer modeling clay.

        • SandyMertens profile image

          Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

          I remember all those Play Doh messes around the house.

        • profile image

          GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

          I really like the idea of the polymer clay, but for young ones, I like play doh

        • profile image

          miaponzo 6 years ago

          Honestly, I have never tried polymer dough.. but I really, really love original Play-Doh!!!!

        • BunnyFabulous profile image

          BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

          I like how you lay out the pros and cons. Good thoughts; especially since I have a number of preschoolers (including my daughter) in my life.