Play dough has been around for years, 90 approximately. What started out as wallpaper cleaner, and eventually was adopted by teachers for use in schools. But what is its secret to still being popular today? Playing with play dough is a wonderfully creative, relaxing activity that doesn't include a screen or batteries. So if you have been looking for a non-technical, imaginative activity to do with your child, play dough ticks all the boxes.
We have put together a quick list of just some of the benefits of getting your hands and minds engaged with play dough
Play dough enhances fine motor skill
When your child squeezes, rolls, pats down, shapes, scores or cuts play dough, they develop and strengthen their hand muscles. Now that the hand muscles are strengthened they help improve fine motor skills of your child
Creativity and imagination
This goes without saying, and it’s probably my favourite reason for using play dough but, this awesome product provides your child with unlimited creative possibilities. You can encourage a current interest that they have in a particular subject, maybe they love a particular food or animal, or have you visited the zoo lately or even the local park. There is no limit to what you can use it to make. It encourages your child to use their imagination and inspire creativity. If your child uses various shapes, rolling pins and other tools or items like beads while playing with play dough it further improves their creative imagination.
If your child is often restless or finds it difficult to express them self, try giving them some to play with. Sitting quietly and just squashing the dough can have a very calming and relaxing effect. This can be further enhanced by incorporating essential oils such as lavender, orange, chamomile or frankincense into the dough and stimulating the sense of smell.
Develops hand - eye coordination
Using a variety of shapes and rolling pins while playing with play-dough will improve your child's hand-eye-coordination
When your child plays with play-dough along with others or you they will interact, talk, discuss problems and find solutions to creating great masterpieces with play dough. So encourage playing with play dough as it can help develop your childs social skills.
Increase curiosity and knowledge with play dough
When your child mixes 2 or more different colours together and discovers a new colour or when they learn to mould play dough in different shapes, it encourages their curiosity. When they ask questions, help them to see how they can use play dough to increase their knowledge and help overall development. So the next time your child requests you to play with them, pull out some play dough or make some yourself, it really is a fantastic activity to play together.
Improves pre-writing skills
When your child plays with play dough, their pincer grip (think squeezing your pointer finger and thumb together to grasp an object) improves. This is very important to develop as it is will enhance your child's pre-writing skills
We have also included free printables of the A,B,C’s which not only help with all kinds of development, it’s much easier to roll and shape play dough on plastic and it helps to have a nice mat to use and protect your surfaces.
Once you have downloaded the file simply print out the mat and laminate and you’re all set to go.
See how we use the mats here.
But what if I don’t have a laminator! Help! Now the easiest is to just laminate all these pages, if you’d like to grab one, try this one. But until then there are other ways to create your mat.. try:
- Use clear contact. Stick the contact paper over the front flip it over and stick to the back creating a sealed playdough mat.
- Use plastic pockets. Tape the opening closed with strong tape.
- Clear wide plastic tape – run strips up and down the front and back of the mat