Children have played with play dough for several generations. It is great fun and also very educational for children of all ages. Play dough can aid a child’s development by improving their attention span as many children who might only spend a few minutes on an activity enjoy sensory activities such as play dough, remain focussed and play with play dough for longer periods which in turn helps their concentrations on other activities.
It can also help develop a child’s fine motor skills and co-ordination as well as encourage their creativity and imagination. Almost anything can be modelled out of play dough, your child can create monsters, aliens, animals, the list is endless and they can use a huge variety of tools such as rolling pins, cooking cutters, forks, keys or just their fingers to create different shapes and textures to their creation.
As your child plays with play dough, either alongside yourself or with other children, their social skills will also develop, sharing tools, working together and talking about their creation are all important skills to learn. Your child can also learn about many different things through playing with play dough, including colours, numbers shapes, textures, sizes (which ball is larger?) and many other educational concepts.
Play dough is a valuable learning tool and does not need to be expensive. Although you are able to buy ready-made versions of the product, it is also possible to easily, quickly and cheaply create your own at home.
There are several different recipes that can be used to make home-made play dough, although this is our favourite:
Easy Peasy Play Dough
½ cup of salt
1 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of cream of tartar (this is a powder found in the baking aisle of the supermarket)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 cup of just boiled water
How to make:
1. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl
2. Mix vigorously with a spoon
3. Knead when mixed
If you want to make coloured play dough add a few drops of food colouring to the water before adding to the mix.
For textured play dough add sand to the water.
For sparkly play dough add glitter.
For smelly play dough add perfumes, vanilla essence or chocolate powder.
Your play dough will last for many uses as long as you store in an air tight container or sandwich bag
by Jenny, mum to William and James