Children are naturally curious and will therefore want to explore anything we put in front of them. A fantastic activity for little fingers is playdough, as it enhances many different areas of development.
Imagine the satisfaction adults get from squishing and squashing on a stress ball. Well, the same goes for your little one when playing enthusiastically with a big blob of playdough.
And here are a few of the incidental learning benefits of playdough:
- Calming effect which can help little ones squeeze and squash away frustration
- Increases their curiosity and ability to be creative and imaginative
- Develops and enhances hand eye coordination
- Enhances fine motor skills which is essential for writing skills later on
- Colour recognition
- Improve tactile awareness with exploration of different textures
A few tips to make playdough play fun:
- When introducing playdough for the first time, make sure you are actively involved with play – a little bit of guidance will be encouraging and also to let your little know that this is not an eating activity.
- Take this opportunity to talk! Tell your little one what you are doing; talk about the different shapes you are making, the colours you are using and smell, if you have added some essence to the dough.
Some ideas for props with playdough:
- Cookie cutters
- Rolling pins
- Wine corks
- Potato mashers
- Plastic scissors
Another great activity is to print out simple pictures or alphabet letters onto card and laminate them. Your little one can use flat hands to roll out and trace the patterns with the dough.
Easy playdough recipe
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup salt
- 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
- Food colouring, optional
- Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large pot.
- Add the water and oil. If you’re only making one colour, add in the colouring now as well.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Continue stirring until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Knead until smooth. (Use plastic gloves so the colouring doesn’t stain your hands)
- If you’re adding colours after, divide the dough into balls (for how many colors you want) and then add about 5 drops of colouring.
- Use plastic gloves to knead the dough, so it doesn’t stain your hands. Once it’s all mixed together you’re ready to PLAY.