Play dough is fun and popular with young children but, apart from making a mess, what is it really good for?
Using play dough (or any type of dough) with young children has several benefits. The malleable properties of play dough make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as building up co-ordination and strength in hand muscles and tendons, making them ready for pencil and scissor control. It can be a great tool for stress relief and calm. It offers opportunities to compare lengths and sizes, sort and categorise help to develop mathematical skills. If you make it together with your child they can experience the changing state of materials and make predictions about what might happen after mixing or cooking.
You can cut, roll or squash it. It can be all sorts of imaginary things from cakes to ice cream and from pebbles to peas. Add extras for even more open-ended multi-sensory fun. Squeeze it through a garlic press, press leaves, feathers or pine cones into it, or add spaghetti and cereal hoops for threading. Put in cocoa powder, cinnamon or vanilla essence for different aromas, or sand, rice and mini pasta shapes for different textures.
As you can see play dough is pretty incredible. Which is why we have it as part of our daily play here at Play B C Preschool. You will find our favourite recipe here. Check out the Imagination Tree for lots more ideas on enhancing dough play.