Creative beginnings for tiny tots

The Power of Playdough

From beginning to end, the process of making your own playdough and playing with the finished product is full of satisfying and stimulating moments for your toddlers and preschoolers (and even for the bigger brothers and sisters and cousins who visited our groups this week)!

Following a recipe hones cognitive skills such as following step by step instructions, counting, and measuring; watching the recipe evolve illustrates cause and effect; touching and manipulating the ingredients from start to finish, is of course, a rich tactile experience; and squeezing, poking, pulling, and kneading the dough builds the muscles in little hands that will help with fine motor skills such as writing later on.  In our groups, tots were teamed up with a friend or two to make their batches, so turn-taking, sharing, and impulse control were other valuable skills that were added into the mix.

It was very timely, that one of my favorite bloggers, The Artful Parent, posted this comprehensive overview 39 Ways to Play and Learn with Playdough earlier this week, so I thought I would share it with you here.  In addition to the compilation of ideas on things to do with playdough, she also includes two recipes, a cooked version and a no-cook version, which is so similar to the version we use in class, that I won’t bother reprinting mine here.

Important points to remember:

  • Especially with your littlest ones who are just starting out with playdough:  don’t be in too much of a rush to inundate them with props and tools.  Let them “get to know” the playdough with the simplest of tools first, their very own hands.  Practice pinching, poking, prodding, squeezing, pulling, patting, etc.
  • If your child has sensory issues or is timid about touching the playdough at first, put some in a small ziploc bag and let them manipulate it in the bag first.

Comments on: "The Power of Playdough" (5)

  1. We have always loved playdough around here too. I’m thinking about trying some cornstarch dough this week with my guys – have you tried that before? Wondering if the feel will be considerably different. Happy art making! 🙂

    • Haven’t tried that…only ooblek (cornstarch and water). I’d be interested in seeing the recipe and hearing about it, Molly. My guess is it would have a silky consistency.

      • FYI, I made some cornstarch dough this morning and it is lovely, smooth and bright white. Needs to be worked with while warm it seems, going to try saving a bit in a container and see if it will work tomorrow or if it will get too dry. I’ll try and write a blog post about it.

      • I’ll keep an eye out for that, Molly.

  2. Love, love, love playing with playdough. Great way to build those fine little muscles and have fun!

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