Playing with play dough is an excellent way to develop and strengthen the small muscles of the wrists, hands, and fingers. All the pinching, rolling, and shaping of the dough is a fun, and very effective, way to bring in fine motor skills
This tactile feedback increases their sensation of touch. You can also add to the sensory exploration at home by adding spices like cinnamon for smell or new colors to engage multiple senses at once. Additionally, you could try adding small beads or sequins for a new feel.
Like other forms of messy play, play dough encourages learning through exploration during open-ended play. This toy offers endless possibilities spurred on by the child’s own curiosity and imagination.
While playing, kids are learning cause and effect when they create, destroy, or remold new things. They’re also learning problem solving as they try new techniques to make their ideas possible.
Start with small, simple activities using the play dough to get them engaged. Try rolling tiny balls or rolling out long ‘snakes’. Talk to them about how it feels, what they think they can make, or different aspects of the play dough itself such as the colors or shapes.
– Letters-either by stamping, writing with a stick, or physically rolling out the letters – Numbers-similar to letters but try numbers this time – Animal tracks-have different animals walk across the play dough – Shapes-practice stamping or cutting out shapes – Colors– practice your colors or mixing colors together – People-try making little play dough people of everyone in your family – Food– ask your child to make their favorite food
– Birthday party-make some birthday cakes together (feel free to pull out real candles) – Smells-try making play dough with different spices with the recipe below – Zoo-bring in some play animals to feed or dress with the play dough – Car tracks-find different toy cars that will make fun tracks – Dress up-grab their plastic toys to dress up – Scissor practice-practice cutting the play dough with scissors
Apples, Blocks, and Crayons