These are some simple ideas of how to use play-doh effectively in worship. I often use play-doh in worship settings, it seems to work even for those who consider themselves not 'arty'. The process of shaping and warming the play-doh gives hands something to focus on, freeing our thoughts to connect with God. And the way play-doh or clay can evolve and constantly change is also different to other art (which needs erasing or painting over to make a new start); echoing the way we think, pray and listen in a smoother way.

We often begin a worship time with a quiet moment of play-doh shaping. Worshippers are asked to consider how they see themselves before God, or how they're coming before Him this day. This will result in a variety of realistic figures or abstract sculptures. If appropriate, it can be helpful to ask volunteers to share what they've made and why. I will conclude the time of sharing with a prayer thanking God that he welcomes us all as we are (and then moving on to eg. a song, written prayer or other item of worship).

Sometimes we leave the play-doh creations on display (eg on a table or tray placed centrally in the room) during the meeting time. We have found it helpful to then revisit the play-doh right at the end of the meeting time, as a way to process and respond. Ask the worshippers to collect their creations and reshape them. What exactly you ask them to consider depends on the focus of your service or meeting. Perhaps it will be helpful to reshape their creations to where they now see themselves before God, if this has changed. Or it could have a more aspirational aspect, a play-doh prayer of what we want God to shape us into. It could be a symbol to represent our response to God for his revelation during the time of worship.

You may find it helpful to read and reflect on the following text:

Jeremiah 18:1-10 (The Message)

" God told Jeremiah, "Up on your feet! Go to the potter's house. When you get there, I'll tell you what I have to say."
So I went to the potter's house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.
Then God's Message came to me: "Can't I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?" God's Decree! "Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel..."
Play-doh is useful for all ages, and - depending on how much play-doh you have or are prepared to make - any size crowd.