Playdough is a great toy for kids, so long as you can stand the mess, and mess there will be even as the kids get a bit older. Provide the kids with some playdough, some tools to make shapes with it, and let them go at it. You don’t have to have anything too special, but cookie cutters, a rolling pin and butter knives are a nice start.
If the mess is a problem, especially over carpet, think about how to control it. A plastic mat is a help. You may also be able to send the kids outside with the playdough; just make sure they clean it up before it dries out, which may happen more quickly outdoors on a hot day.
I make my own playdough for my kids. It’s really easy and there are a lot of recipes for this online. It’s fun for the kids to help too. If you use food coloring in it, just be ready for the kids to make a mess with it. I usually help younger kids get the color started, and then let them go at it the rest of the way.