Playdough has so many amazing benefits for children - there is a reason why it features at every Twinkle Kids session!
Calming and Soothing
Playdough itself provides a calming, sooting and regulating response, similar to a stress ball. The act of kneading, rolling, squashing and pulling playdough is therapeutic in itself.
Add in some dried lavender flowers or essential oils and its a complete relaxation experience!
Fine Motor Muscle Development
Before children ever hold a pencil, they need to first develop what's called fine motor muscles. These are tiny muscles in the fingers, hands and wrists that will build over time, eventually providing the support and grip needed to hold pencils, paintbrushes and crayons.
Fine motor muscles are not just for pencils. Practical skills such as zippers, buttons, folding, picking are all built on fine motor muscles. Playdough provides the perfect tool to support this essential muscle development. As children work the dough, kneading, poking, squishing, rolling and pinching they will in turn gain strength and dexterity.
Supports social skills
There is something communal about playdough. Children and adults can gather around the table creating, laughing and playing together.
Sharing, turn taking, communicating and interactions are all practiced through playdough.
Children will also feel a sense of being capable and competent as the open ended play that playdough provides a positive play and learning experience.
As there is no age limit for playdough, babies and children can enjoy it simultaneously in their own ways. When mixed-age children play together, it provides an opportunity to learn from each other while gaining new ideas, supporting each other and sharing joy.
Allows for creativity and free expression
Playdough is open-ended, which means there is no set outcome or goal in mind when playing. This allows children to interact with playdough as they choose. Children may wish to poke it, roll into a ball, make a wiggly worm, squash into pancakes, mix
together to make a rainbow, add in items to extend their play.
Here, we used watercolour paints to create a rainbow tower. Almost anything can be added to playdough!
My playdough recipe couldn't be simpler!
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup boiling water
*If you wish to preserve your playdough for longer, you can add 1 cup salt. We usually make a fresh batch each week so we choose to leave the salt out.
*If you are adding food colouring, add it to the water first to ensure it mixes evenly
You can add almost anything to playdough to ignite interest, make it seasonal or extend on play. Here are some of my favourite add-ins for playdough.
Herbs - fresh or dried.
Flowers - fresh or dried
Cinnamon or mixed spice
Oats or cereals