Why play dough? 10 reasons why playdough is the best ‘toy’ you can give your child.
Hi everyone I’m Darryl from @bodkinandroo
I was an Early Years teacher for 15 years and now I’m a stay-at-home mummy running my own business creating sensory playdough kits in the wee hours!
Playdough is an incredible resource and, whether home-made or shop bought, is one of the very best ‘toys’ for children to play with.
Any playdough is great. You can whip up a batch of homemade in moments, even get your child involved in the making, or buy a pot and have an instant activity ready to go when you need a moment.
Playdough play doesn’t need to be fancy. You probably have lots of ‘tools’ around the house that work brilliantly in playdough…potato mashers, garlic crushers, almost any kitchen utensil is good.
And the accessories can be as simple as a handful of pebbles, some foraged or left-over flowers, a chopped-up paper straw or a few cake cases…. use whatever you already have.
Here are my top ten reasons why playdough should be at the top of your ‘to play’ list every day…
- Fine motor skills. There is nothing that you can give your child that will have a greater impact on their fine motor skills than playdough. Even a ball of dough on its own. All that squishing and squashing, poking and rolling really gets those little muscles moving and working out. Crucial physical development for future drawing, painting and of course writing.
- Maths. Playdough is a brilliant tool to get your littles involved in maths play. There are so many different opportunities for mathematical language in simple playdough play. Who has the biggest ball, can you roll a ball bigger or smaller? Let’s make worms, whose is longest/shortest? Can we order them? Sharing cakes anyone? How many pieces shall we have? Shall we set up a cake shop? Cutting out simple shapes. Introducing fractions. It really does lend itself to all areas of mathematics.
- Literacy and a Time to Talk. Have you ever just sat and watched a group of children gathered around a playdough activity? I’ve been very privileged as a teacher to have been able to do just that many times and watching them chat and collaborate and learn from each other is amazing. If you want to work on phonics or spelling pop out some magnetic letters or stamps with the dough. Hide secret messages inside playdough ‘eggs’ to be discovered and read.
- Creativity. Following on and really interlinked with Literacy, playdough is wonderful for developing children’s creativity, they can’t help but be creative. The things that children can do with playdough are almost limitless… And creating their own worlds and models encourages critical thinking and innovation. Sometimes I like to give my children a ‘kit’ with open ends loose parts and sometimes just a book as a prompt. Even with just a ball of dough children will come up with all kinds of amazing ideas and creations.
- Gross motor skills. Just as important as fine motor skills for our future authors, illustrators and artists. Grab a ball of dough and have yourself a dough disco. Bust out all your lifting, stretching and squishing moves! You can find dough disco videos on you tube or just pop on your favourite songs and make it up!
- Calm….. Ahh that thing we all long for, a few moments of calm and quiet play! Seriously though if your child is finding things tough then a tub of dough can be just the thing to help them Calm down and find a mindful moment. Kneading, rolling and squishing can help reduce tension and anxiety. (It’s good for grown-ups too) try adding lavender for the ultimate down time dough. You may also find that while little hands are
- busy with dough that they are more willing to chat about any worries or troubles they have.
- Attention span. Children naturally have a short attention span…roughly the same number of minutes as their age. However, playdough play seems to change all that. Maybe because of its limitless possibilities children will often stay engrossed in playdough play for extended periods of time. So go grab that cuppa!
- This one is the most important for children…. IT’S FUN!! Honest children just love playdough! And a good playdough recipe will not leave you with a sticky, crumbly mess!!
- And lastly and possibly the most important for you, IT’S EASY! Setting up playdough play can be as easy as a ball of dough! If you love the extras the go for it! But sometimes all you have time for is putting out that little pot of magic and that’s ok because either way you’ll be harnessing the incredible POWER OF PLAYDOUGH!!
Anyway, I’ll hop down off my playdough soap box now although I’m sure I could go on for days about its wonders!
Thank you so much to Sophie for asking me to write this blog post for her. She’s such an inspiring lady! (As you obviously already know!)
Bye for now and please do pop over to @bodkinandroo to say hi, I’d love to see what you get up to when your playdoughing.