Let’s consider this post to be Playdough 101: Everything You Need To Know About Playdough.
Have you ever observed a child or a group of children using playdough? They are so IN IT. No one is telling them what to do, there are no complicated directions, they are free to make and create without adult intrusion. There are no lines to stay inside of and usually, there is not one prescribed task. Actually, play dough seems to be one of the last materials that we still allow children to use withou having our own agenda.
Play dough has graced the presence of almost every good preschool program for decades. There are lots of reasons that this is the case. First, it is easy to make and easy to store. You can make it with children or solo, because it’s not complicated at all. The ingredients are inexpensive and readily available. Play dough can be used by itself or with accessories that are found or purchased. There are so many great things about this versatile dough.
While it can provide hours of entertainment, play dough is not just worth it’s weight in fun. While children are using dough, they are also and exercising almost all areas of their brains.
Playdough is a fantastic tool for fine motor development. Those little hands are developing important muscles used for writing, tying shoes and zipping and buttoning all while playing.
Play dough encourages math skills. As the kids take the dough apart and put it back together they are using concepts like ‘part to whole,’ and exploring 3-D and 2-D shape awareness. They are also estimating and measuring, exploring weight and volume.
Language development? Check. Have you ever noticed how much your child chats away while playing with play dough? Our children are telling their own stories and the stories of everything around them as they process the dough through their hands and play.
Play dough offers our children a sensory learning experience that they can easily control. They can decide how intensely to squish the dough or if they’d rather poke at it with a tool. It offers children an opportunity to go at their own pace.
Finally, play dough is about creating and making on their own terms. In my book, that’s the most important kind of learning. Why? When children are in charge of the materials, and can meet them on their own terms, they have the opportunity to truly assimilate their own experiences and knowledge.
How to make playdough:
I find that cooked play dough is the easiest to make and lasts the longest. That’s just my experience, search Pinterest and you will find many other wonderful recipes that might work better for you.
Don’t feel like making it and just want to buy it? I hear you. Sometimes I don’t feel like it either. HERE is my go-to dough to buy.
Next, let’s talk storage. Any airtight solution will do. There are lots of pretty options, like glass jars or small clear jars, but my absolute favorite means of storage for homemade playdough is a ziplock bag with all of the air squeezed out. While it might no be the most attractive option, the play dough lasts months and months, without drying out or growing mold.
How to manage the mess:
One of my favorite things about playdough is that it’s NOT messy. Well-made dough will not flake and leave a trail on the floor, but just to be on the safe side, make a designated spot for playing. For small children, the floor is probable best. Put down a tray or a large cookie tin on a drop cloth or a sheet. We have THESE drop cloths and use them for everything.
For older children just pop that cookie sheet or any tray with a shallow lip up on the table. Put the drop cloth under the table and their chair. When you are finished just shake to off outside. No big deal!
Playdough is a wonderful medium for children of all ages. It’s soft, pliable texture offers a soothing sensory experience and an outlet for learning and creativity.
How do you feel about playdough? Are you on team make it or team buy it?
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