Before you dismiss the idea of your little ones playing with playdough, we're sharing our favorite benefits of the infamously messy activity. Amongst playing, building, and letting their imaginations run wild, playdough has the ability to provide valuable learning opportunities!
1. Sensory + Social Emotional Learning
Starting at a young age, children develop their understanding of the world through their senses. The malleable texture of playdough is perfect for investigation and exploration as children engage in the simple, tactile play of squishing, squeezing, rolling, chopping, pulling, puncturing, and more! Playdough can also act as a safe outlet when children are feeling emotional -- try adding some essential oils to engage the olfactory senses for an even greater calming effect!
2. Enhances Literacy, Science + Math Skills
Playdough makes the best learning tool for hands on fun! For literacy practice, have your little one stamp letters into playdough, reinforcing letter recognition. Young learners can also mold playdough into different letters to practice letter formation or spelling. When playdough is stretched and breaks, children are developing concepts of cause and effect. When making playdough, kids get to observe changing states - an exciting experience for children to see! Playdough can also be useful in counting, learning 2D and 3D shapes, exploring length + weight, and even fractions!
3. Sparks Imagination + Creativity
Playdough can be molded to create just about anything! One of the reasons we LOVE playdough is because of it's versatility and it's ability to spark imagination and creativity. With the right little add-ins that you can easily switch each week, playdough can be the base of pretend play. Playdough can easily become a flower bed for gardening, the sweets for a bakery, the sand in a beach scene, the road for a town, and so much more! Honestly, the limits are endless and it's just such a fun way for kids to learn and have fun at the same time!
Tools + Add-Ins We Love
- Play tweezers
- Pom Poms
- Baking Trays/Sheets
- Cups + Bowls
- Animal Figurines
- Toy Cars + Road Signs
- Dull Scissors
- Garlic Peeler
- Googly Eyes
Tips + Tricks+ Use a baking sheet/tray as a playing mat for the kids to play on
+ Establish & emphasize clear rules about where play dough is allowed to be played (before things get messy!)
+ Offer playdough as a fun brain break from other tasks
+ Use a bigger ball of playdough to pick up smaller pieces when it's time to clean up
+ Store in an airtight container or Ziplok bag in a cool place for endless fun!
+ Try experimenting with smells and colors by adding food coloring or spices and essential oils. We like pastel colors that are toned down to have a more calming effect on children.
Want to make some for yourself? Check out our Easter Creativity Kit that includes 6 creative activities like this to do at home!