Play dough is an incredibly fun activity, and often a favorite among kids. But not only is playing with play dough fun, it is also a wonderful way to get in some hands on learning! The benefits are many and it’s one of my favorite ways to encourage learning through play.
Learn with Play Dough
September 12, 2012 by 4 Comments
The learning and fun can begin by having your child help you make your own homemade play dough. Following a recipe is a great way to practice literacy and math skills. You can also sneak in a science lesson by asking them to make observations and predict what will happen to the mixture next. And by letting your child help cook the play dough, you are allowing them to practice life skills. That is a lot of learning!
But the learning doesn’t stop there!
Math- Children experiment with size and shape when they play with play dough. Whether they are sculpting or using cookie cutters, they are experimenting with geometry and spatial awareness. They can also use their play dough creations to count, add, and subtract.
Literacy- You can get in some fun literacy activities by encouraging your child to form letters in the alphabet or words with play dough. You could also use alphabet cookie cutters, or roll out the dough and use a toothpick or chopstick to write in the dough.
Sensory Development- Touching the dough is a sensory experience in itself, but you could add to the experience by adding in scents like vanilla or peppermint extracts. This pumpkin pie scented play dough would be a wonderful sensory experience during the fall.
Art- Children learn about colors (and often mixing colors!), sculpting, and creating as they play.
Fine Motor Skills- Poking, squeezing, rolling and smashing play dough strengthens hand muscles and improves hand-eye coordination. You can also let children cut the play dough with scissors as a fun way to improve scissor skills.
Unit Studies- You could also create a play dough activity to accompany a subject you are working on or to further explore a child’s interest. We recently used play dough to explore the solar system.
Creative Play- Play dough is open ended by nature and promotes creative and imaginative play. Even if you start out with a particular activity, if you sit back and watch, your child is liable to take it into another direction. It’s a perfect medium for storytelling and problem solving as your child’s imagination creates various scenarios.
How do your children learn with play dough?