- Playdough is an open-ended activity that stimulates imaginative play. If you’re in a playdough rut, why not try adding sprinkles, spices, rice or flavoured essence from your pantry? Or raid the cupboards for some interesting containers, patty pans and utensils? We often add small toys like tea sets, dinosaurs and cars. On sunny days, we take it outside and mix in a heap of flowers, sticks, leaves and feathers.
- Playing with dough encourages cooperative play, sharing and taking turns. Talking about what you are making and how you are making it is also a brilliant way of working on communication and vocabulary building. Starting with questions like ‘I wonder what you will do with this red dough?’ or ‘I wonder how you will use this plastic fork?’ are easy ways to talk about the activity, while giving your kids space to explore on their own.
- Playdough is great for developing basic maths concepts, such as spatial awareness, modelling and counting. The flexibility of playdough (and all the different ways you can play with it) also encourages experimentation, investigation and problem solving.
- The physical activity of playing with dough strengthens muscles and tendons in your fingers, hands and wrists. It’s brilliant for building up hand strength, which gets kids ready for using pencils, pens and scissors everyday at school. Working with playdough in different ways (cutting, stretching, squishing, rolling and poking) also develops fine motor skills, coordination and concentration.
- Playdough is an awesome way to unwind and relax. Kneading, rolling and manipulating dough can be very calming. Talking about the experience (the texture, scent, colour, movement) is also a lovely, kid-friendly way of practicing mindfulness and focus. We often set up a playdough table at the end of our sessions, so that the kids and parents can unwind and relax together before they leave Art Play.