Kids love play dough! And while it might seem like it’s all about making shapes and having fun making a mess there is actually much more to playing play dough. Here are 7 reasons why play dough is good for kids plus a recipe to make your own:
1. Play dough is the perfect open-ended toy
Turning a blob of dough into anything your mind imagines is a great way to encourage creativity and spark learning. Use containers, shapes, rollers, cutters and things to poke and make patterns.
2. Fun for any age
Children as young as 18 months can start playing with play dough under supervision to ensure they don’t eat it. It might start with some patting and squishing but as they grow they will be able to make more elaborate creations.
3. Encourages development of fine motor skills
As little hands squash, roll, use tools and create things using play dough they strengthen the muscles in their hands and improve hand-eye coordination which will help them as they learn to write, cut and make puzzles.
4. Makes the perfect teaching tool
Whether it be creating number, letters or cooking skills, play dough can be used to teach children loads of lessons – shapes, colours, matching, sorting and counting.
5. Great stress reliever
Small children are full of energy and can’t always express themselves. Play dough gives them an opportunity to let off some steam and calm themselves as they knead and squeeze the dough.
6. Stimulate the senses
Add textures and fragrances to further stimulate the senses. You can add aroma therapy oils, glitter, tiny pasta, coriander seeds and rock salt – the possibilities are endless.
7. Make Christmas decorations and other trinkets
When it starts to get a little dry you can make shapes and dry them in the sun. They can then be painted and glittered – beads for threading, decorations and gifts for special occasions, serviette rings etc.
Make your own play dough
It’s very simple an inexpensive to make. There are many ways to make play dough depending on the ingredients you have and which suits you best. Some recipes call for cooking it and others don’t require cooking. Here is a great recipe for cooked play dough that is very similar to the type you buy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmSsGixC4qw