Create An Adorable playdough self-portrait in 5 easy steps (Free Printable)

Fun self-portrait playdough art activity for kids

playdough face mats for self-portrait activity


Get to see your child through their eyes by using this free self-portrait playdough activity printable! This printable has your child using one of their favorite crafting materials – playdough – to create their unique work of art! This activity will help your preschooler, kindergartner, and first grader express themselves in a fun and hands-on way. It’s also suitable for older kids!

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Creative self-portrait activity for kids

free playdough mats for self-portrait play

What does your child see when they look in the mirror? The focus of this activity is to help your little one gain insight into how they view themselves in a creative way.

Your kid will also sharpen their fine motor skills as they press, roll, flatten, pinch, pull, cut, and mold their playdough to get it “just right.” This activity will also help your little one with their sensory relationships (vision and touch) and hand-eye coordination.

If you’re an educational professional, this activity would fit perfectly in an “All About Me” lesson or as part of a therapeutic session.

Why are self-portraits important for kids?

Have you noticed that your kid loves to draw pictures of themselves? Our oldest, Lucia, loves to draw. She loves to draw pictures of herself with us (her family), with her friends, and of course Disney princess characters (#teamJasmine). All of this creative drawing plays a huge role in her personal development – her understanding of her abilities and who she is as a person.

When your child focuses on creating a self-portrait, it helps them to understand who they are and how they see themselves in a real and authentic way. Using playdough to create a self-portrait makes this an engaging, interactive, and fun activity to do!

Let’s make a playdough self-portrait in 5 easy steps!

This is a stress-free activity that gets your kid’s creativity flowing and it’s super easy to set up! The 5 simple steps below will walk you through how to use this free resource.

Introduction: fun facts to connect the past to the present

Is your child ready to create their masterpiece? That’s awesome! But first, why not interest them with a little bit of fascinating art history and help them connect the past to the present? Here are some cool facts about self-portraits for kids:

  • Jan Van Eyck painted this portrait and he was from Maaseik, Belgium.
  • The first “selfie” was taken in November 1839 (that’s 182 years ago!)
  • This selfie was taken by Robert Cornelius from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • You can create a self-portrait by painting, drawing, taking a photograph, or using a mixed media approach. Mixed media means you are using two or more art materials to create your work of art. Since this activity uses a printable template, playdough, and other fun materials, it’s considered a mixed media art project.

The activity materials

To start, you’ll need the free self-portrait playdough mat printable (below). For the best experience, you’ll want to laminate this printable. Laminating the printable provides a great surface for your playdough.

The playdough will stick to the sheet, but it’ll also easily come off, which is great for fast clean up (that’s what I’m talkin’ about)! It also protects the printable and allows you to reuse it over and over again. I would print the printable on cardstock to make it sturdier.

If you don’t have a laminator on hand, don’t worry! You can use page protectors (make sure to tape the open edge) or dry erase sleeves. Dry erase sleeves require no prep and they are incredibly durable! Just slide the printable into the sleeve and use.

PRO TIP: If you want to save on laminating sheets, laminate two sheets together.  Make sure to laminate them back to back!

You’ll be using a mixed-media approach to create this self-portrait activity to make it more creative and fun! Since this is a playdough mat printable, you’ll of course need some playdough in different colors.

Here’s a list of what we used:

some materials for self-portrait playdough activity

You can also use:

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Pasta 
  • Sequins
  • Shells
  • Fabric scraps
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Glitter
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Buttons
  • Cookie cutters and molds

PRO TIP: Look around the house to see what you already have on hand that you can use! You can also make your own playdough if that’s your thing. Doing a simple Google search on “how to make your own playdough at home”  returned over 5 million results!

Other tips and ideas for the self-portrait playdough activity

Here are some extra suggestions that you can use for this art project:

  • Make sure you have enough playdough in a variety of colors. This will give your little one more creative freedom.
  • Let go and let your child explore, discover, and create in their own way at their own pace! Some kids will create a more realistic self-portrait or one that will be more abstract and interpretive 😉. Both are skillful.
  • Set up a space where your child can get messy and have fun with this art activity. You’ll want to make sure it’s a space that they can use for a while, because you want to give them plenty of time to create. My daughter took about 45 minutes. Your child might take less time or more time.

The activity process

There’s no right or wrong way to do this activity. You can give your child a mirror or a picture of them if they want to reference something. Or, you can ask them if they want to go on memory or use their imagination.

For example, my daughter, Lucia, didn’t use a mirror or a picture. She created her self-portrait from memory. It was awesome to see the choices she made with her selection of playdough colors and the details she decided to add or leave off.

free flaydough self-portrait mats
  1. Download the printable and choose the template you want (there are 7 skin tone options).
  1. Print and laminate the printable.
  1. Set up a creative space for your little one with all the materials they can use.
  1. Watch them have a blast as they create their unique self-portrait out of playdough! Your kid can smoosh, pinch, flatten, and roll playdough directly on the playdough activity mat.
kids self-portrait example
  1. Take a picture of your child’s masterpiece and text it to their grandparents or post it on Facebook and Instagram (and don’t forget to tag us #sincerelyarelle 😊!)

Follow up activities

Once your child is done with their project, you can discuss their masterpiece by asking them some critical thinking questions like:

  • What can you tell me about your self-portrait? Can you describe it to me?
  • What is your favorite part of your self-portrait? Why?
  • Why did you use the color… (insert the color chosen) for the… (hair, eyes, mouth, etc.)?
  • What materials did you use? Why?
  • How did you create…(the hair, the shape of the eyes, the details of your nose, etc.)?

You can also have your child complete the full-body people playdough mat activity! This activity allows your child to create a self-portrait from head to toe or other unique characters! Click here to find out more!

Free self-portrait playdough mat printable PDF download

The self-portrait playdough mat resource comes in an easily downloadable PDF document format. To get your freebie fill out the form below and your PDF will be delivered directly to your inbox (easy peasy!).

Please keep in mind that all Smart Cookie Printables are for personal use only. For more information on use of our printables see our copyright policy here.

All activities to be done with adult supervision.

Make your own unique full-body playdough characters!

Did your kid have a blast creating their self-portrait? Keep the fun going and have them create another one from head to toe! Or use these mats to create fun and original playdough characters!

Get the People Playdough Mats for only $1.50! Click here for more information.

More fun printables

If you enjoy our printables (which I sincerely hope you do) please share them on Pinterest or Facebook.

And, if you’re looking for more fun and free learning resources and party printables, head over to my free printables library!

Free self-portrait playdough mats

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