Developmental Benefits of Play Dough for Kids
Squish, smash, twist, turn…mess.
We have all had experiences with playdough, whether in our own childhood or with our own children. But outside of simple messy play, what exactly is playdough good for?
While some may find this surprising, play dough has a wide array of developmental, learning, and sensory benefits for kids. This is why playdough is a staple in almost every early childhood classroom. Its versatility makes playdough one of those items that should be a part of every childhood.
What Playdough Teaches Kids
The benefits of playing with playdough in early childhood cover many areas of development and learning. It’s playful versatility easily makes playdough a childhood staple. As your child manipulates and molds their playdough creations they are doing much more than just having fun. Playful learning? Sign us up! Below you will find all the fantastic benefits that your child is getting everytime they play with playdough or clay.
Fine Motor Skills: This helps in your children’s hands develop the strength, dexterity, and control needed to manipulate everyday items such as scissors, pencils, zippers, and buttons.
Socioemotional Skills: Playdough provides a lot of open-ended opportunities for children to experience independent and cooperative play. In both styles of play, children are exploring abilities, life experiences, and emotions. During play with others (either an adult or child) children are learning about cooperation, collaboration, self-control, and friendships.
Creativity: From dramatic play to initiating and creating whatever your child’s imagination can come up with, playdough is a fantastic outlet. Playdough can be anything!
Language and Literacy: As children discuss what they are creating or their sensory experiences they are expanding their vocabulary. As you ask your child questions they are learning to listen. There are so many different ways children learn comprehension, listening, and communication skills through playing with playdough.
Science and Math: Trial and error, creating shapes, comparing sizes – just simply playing with playdough exposes kids to a vast array of math and science concepts.
|Bottle Tops||Garlic Masher|
|Plastic Animals||Mr. Potato Head Pieces|
|Melon Baller||Matchbox Cars|
Sensory Benefits of Play Dough
Hand Strengthening: Squishing, smashing, pushing, pulling, twisting, cutting…all the fun of playdough. Just the basic act of playing with playdough builds those hands muscles. Playdough also comes in a variety of different consistencies some of which require more strength than others to manipulate making it fairly easy to meet individual needs.
Proprioceptive: Pushing in cookie cutters or toys, pulling back a rolling pin, or even just squeezing a very stiff dough all provide deep pressure input for your child’s joints.
Sensorimotor: Ever just sit there and squeeze/roll around a ball of play dough in your hands while your child sat there and played? A lot like a stress ball, play dough is a stress reliever. And this works for your kids too!
Tactile: Everything about playdough at the most basic level is about exploring using the tactile sensory system. From textures to consistencies, to toys and items used, playdough is all about hands-on exploration.
Olfactory: Adding scents to playdough is ridiculously easy and one of our favorite things to do! For some simple ideas check out the links below.
Play Dough Recipes and Play Ideas for Kids
One of my absolute favorite scents of the summer is watermelon so when it came time to make a batch of play dough for us to use this week, I just could not pass up making some Homemade Watermelon Play Dough. Playdough is a fantastic fine motor activity without adding...
Play Dough is one of those sensory materials that we absolutely adore. It is such a versatile material when it comes to creating and learning. This last week we have been having a blast exploring our ABC’s with these Alphabet Play Dough Mats! Summer is...
Homemade Play Dough is one of our absolutely favorite quiet time activities and with this month being birthday month for two of my kids we just could not pass up some cupcake making pretend play! This Birthday Cake Play Dough Recipe took us less than 10 minutes to...
You’re going to love this hazelnut scented, textured play dough. It smells great, is easy to make and is taste-safe. It’s a fun way to do something a little different for your sensory play. It doesn’t matter how many times we make play dough – the boys love it! I try...
It’s common among kids to think playdough is the best thing since sliced bread. They will especially love this taste safe pumpkin playdough recipe! My kids definitely love any kind of playdough that comes their way. It’s squishy, it feels cool in their hands, and they...
Using playdough to spell is a great way to help your child gain a deeper understanding of the way words work through hands-on explorations, sorting words, and identifying patterns. Not only Play Dough Spelling a fun activity that your kids will love, it will also take...
Disclosure: I have been compensated by Johnson’s® Baby for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. If ever I am having a day where I definitely need a parenting win I can count on this simple DIY Playdough Soap Recipe at bath time to...
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Kids will love exploring how to make playdough using Peeps! This is the perfect edible playdough for exploring the letter P!
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Earlier this week I had a crazy idea and it worked. It’s not too often that they do. This simple no-cook recipe on How to Make Playdough with Skittles is so easy even my three-year-old could make it! How We Came Up With Making Skittles Playdough (because this...
It’s no secret that we love play dough around here. It seems like daily I am having to whip up another batch. While learning how to make play dough I ran into a couple different frustrations like reds that looked more like pinks and dyeing processes that left my...
This Glow in the Dark Play Dough is super AMAZING!
Pumpkin Spice Play Dough is an awesome way to greet Autumn and fill your home with some fantastic scents through play!
Playdough Dinosaur Fossils: Explore print making, matching, and types of dinosaurs with this simple playdough activity! This is even a great activity for some dramatic dinosaur play!
Playdough (aka Play-doh) is easy to make at home, and fun for kids of all ages. We adore this easy playdough recipe – fun for play and soft to touch!