Why Play dough? Plus my 4 favourite simple activities.
Why is play dough always so prevalent in pre-schools, kinders and playrooms? Why is it something that so many kids gravitate towards and explore?
Since introducing it to Aidan, at around 12 months, he has been infatuated with it. He will choose it over almost anything else.
From the very beginning he would immerse himself in dough-play and play his own way. It was amazing.
But what are the benefits?
I think we mummas all know how fun play dough is but what are the actual benefits of it?
When I started listing the benefits it got a bit out of control so I am going to try and keep it simple and talk about what I think are the main ones;
- Hand strengthening
- Fine motor skills
- Imaginative and Creative play
- Sensory stimulation
Pretty amazing stuff!
The development of coordination, hand strength and fine motor skills assist children with feeding and dressing themselves, as well as future writing tasks.
Engaging with play dough encourages imaginative and creative play. Through this kind of play they are able to explore their minds and demonstrate understandings, developing their language, problem solving and emotional intelligence.
For one simple, cheap resource to do all this, and more, is pretty amazing!
What are some Simple Activities?
I love using my imagination and presenting dough to Aidan and Evie in new and exciting ways BUT our main dough-play is pretty simple and it still hasn’t lost its appeal 2 years on!
Cookie cutters and rolling
Grab some simple cookie cutters and a rolling pin, let your little one stamp, roll and make impressions in the dough.
Grab some animal figurines or mini people, let them walk over the dough making impressions. Can they hide in the dough?
Dough scissors, or any blunt scissors, and a play knife provide great opportunities to practise cutting skills.
Worms and Balls
No accessories needed! Get those hands moving by making worms or dough balls. The worms can be made into shapes, the balls can be stacked or smashed. So many possibilities.
How do you dough?
I used to make my own dough, using this recipe, it was great to be able to make it myself and always have more on hand when I needed. I had to store it in the fridge so when we first got it out it was cold and hard. Aidan was never able to independent roll it out, that was ok because I was more than happy to get in there and play too!
I always made my own because the chemicals in store bought gave me the heeby jeebies and we all know how much kids like to sneak a taste of the dough!
September last year, I discovered Wild Dough and I have not made my own dough since. It’s got no nasties and is made by a Melbourne mum who sells her dough worldwide. It smells amazing, the colours are vibrant and most importantly it is SO workable. From the first play, Aidan could roll out his own dough, with Evie being more active it was great timing for him to become more independent in his play! If you check out my free resources section, you may even find a cheeky discount!
Make it yourself or buy it, it doesn’t matter in the end. Do what works for YOU and YOUR family. Either way, get dough into your daily routine, simply by having it on the shelf and showing your little ones that it is always an option!
Have you played with dough lately? Add the tag #playtribe to your Instagram posts so I can check out what you have been up to!