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.