Following on from one of our children’s next steps, our Bumblebees room took part in making play dough from scratch. They used spoons and cups to measure the ingredients and mix them all together. As they were scooping up the flour, the children counted how many spoons they needed and then added the salt. Some of them wanted to touch the ingredients and commented how the flour is “soft” and the salt is “hard.”
After adding the oil, the children said that it became sticky and as some of them mixed the mixture with their hands, they showed them up and said that their hands look like a “monster.” When the playdough was ready, the children discussed between themselves and with the practitioner how it was “very green” and “squishy!”
We had more objects on the table to add to the play dough and the children started exploring what they were and thinking of ways to combine them. Some of the children created monsters and aliens, others worms and cakes.
Our Bumblebees children really enjoyed making the playdough themselves and they used lots of speech to describe what they were doing and what they were making. They expressed their imagination with their creations and were able to describe their ideas.
Playdough is one of those magic elements, which can be used in supporting children’s development all around. Some of the benefits from playing with playdough are:
- The unique texture of the mix is great in strengthening those little hands – squishing, rolling and flattening the playdough requires manipulation of the dough and is good practice for future writing and cutting skills
- Playdough can be a great source for children’s imagination. They can create whatever they imagine with the dough and with adult’s interaction they can talk through what they have made.
- Using different shape cutters with the play dough supports children with forming their hand-eye coordination, as they direct their hands to create what they imagine.
- Social skills – playing with playdough in groups promotes interaction between children and adults, whilst sharing ideas of what they are making and sharing the dough between one another.
- Manipulating playdough is also very calming and therapeutic and it also encourages concentration for longer periods of time.
- Play dough is also a great tool in supporting maths and literacy. Breaking the dough and creating little dough balls, can create a play where children learn about 1:1 correspondence. It promotes using numbers, by counting and also mark making, which is part of setting the basis for early writing.
Most importantly playdough is lots of fun and a great tool for all multi-sensory development play.