Is it just me, or does the smell of playdough transport you back to your childhood in an instant? Playdough has been a staple of child’s play for years because of it’s simplicity and versatility. But also because there are so many benefits of playdough for toddlers and preschoolers!
Learning with playdough is so easy that it’s hard for your child not to take away something from the experience. There are so many ways to play with playdough and so many benefits of playdough. If you don’t have any yet, it’s time to get your hands on some and get your kids playing with playdough!
To make things easy (because I’m all about getting rid of the jargon and making it simple!) I want to walk you through the benefits of playdough in an easy way. I’m go to show each benefit through a playdough activity designed to promote the benefits of playdough in a fun way!
So let’s begin by unpacking the benefits of playdough play and what they actually mean?
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What are the Benefits of Playdough?
- Encouraging Creativity (something that we’re all about!)
- Benefits of sensory play (an essential part of play)
- Fine Motor Skills Development (this is a biggie when it comes to playdough!)
- Hand-eye Co-ordination (mastering the art of putting things where we want them, mainly with loose parts play)
- Early Maths Skills (counting and shapes and stuff)
- Social Skills (something little ones are constantly working on)
- Creative Play (playdough really is a catch-all when it comes to creative play!)
So let’s take a look at each of these playdough benefits in a little more detail using playdough food to show us how:
Playdough Encourages Creativity
This is a really important one for children and adults alike (and one I’m super passionate about)! Free play with play doh encourages children to come up with their own ideas. Bringing to life their own creations through play using their imagination
This burger is a great example of how children can get creative making playdough food. Making playdough burgers, sandwiches or wraps (anything that has a filling) gives a child the opportunity to get creative with their fillings. It is a great invitation to play, inviting children to fill their own burger. I used cheese, tomatoes and lettuce in mine, but they can choose to fill theirs with anything they like! Playdough food is great for symbolic play as children start to use objects to represent something else. For example a red button is used for a tomato.
And for a more free play approach, invite children to create any meal they like using the free printable playdough mats at the bottom of this page!
Playdough has a Sensory Calming Effect
Playing with playdough can be very therapeutic and calming for a child. It gives them a chance to release some of those emotions whilst they squish the playdough. This can be especially helpful for children with autism, as it gives your child something to do with their hands. Playdough is a great sensory play activity for all ages and is a great way to ease into naptime.
This ketchup splodge is a great example of how playdough has sensory play benefits. The squishing and flattening required to make this will help a child release tension enabling them to feel calmer when they play with playdough. You could also add scents to playdough for another sensory element. Lavender is a great option for calming effects.
Playdough develops Fine Motor Skills
Playdough is such a great tool for the development of fine motor skills with lots of squeezing, squishing, pinching, rolling, and cutting. These will all help to strengthen the muscles in their hands. This will help prepare them for holding pens and pencils later on. Playdough develops fine motor skills without even trying, making it such a great activity for little ones.
Making peas is a great way to encourage children to pinch very small amounts of playdough. They can also then roll them into small balls. Because the peas are quite small, it encourages children to use the tips of their fingers more and work on developing those all important fine motor skills. And they look super realistic for playdough food! For lots more Fine Motor Activities check out this post that is packed full of everything you need to know about fine motor skills
Hand-Eye Co-Ordination is a super benefit of playdough
This skill can be tricky for little ones, but by providing small loose parts you can give your child the opportunity to practice pushing and poking parts into playdough to aid the process. Playdough promotes cognitive development by giving them countless opportunities to figure things out, to problem solve and to create.
I decided to create a sesame seed bun for my burger using rice. This activity is great for improving hand-eye co-ordination as little ones attempt to push the small pieces of rice into the dough on top. It is delicate work and also great for fine motor skills. For more loose parts playdough ideas like this check out this post here
Early Maths Skills can be developed by playing with playdough
Playdough offers so much in terms of opportunities to learn math skills, such as shape recognition and counting. You can take this as far as your child is ready. If you are playing with a preschooler then you can talk about how many things they have made, or what shape their sun is. But don’t feel this is always necessary, children learn so much about the shapes through play and exposure is a great start.
These chips offer a great invitation for counting. You could ask how many chips they have made or even just as simple as ‘Can I have a chip please?’ If using cutters you could talk about the length of each chip determining if one is longer than the other Or you could simply talk about how chips are long in shape.
Playdough Play is great for developing Social Skills
As with any creative play activity, this is the perfect opportunity for little ones to improve on their social skills. As they engage with others as they play (that might be you, or another child) they are learning how to convey their ideas and thoughts to others and how to interact through the medium of play.
Your child is constantly working on developing their social skills. Playdough activities provide opportunities for toddlers to express their opinions, thoughts and processes as they play. These playdough fruits provide the option to talk about their likes and dislikes and even where fruit comes from and how it grows.
Benefits of Playdough: Creative Learning with Playdough
I love sharing creative play ideas because there is so much to be learnt through play. Children thrive on play and playdough is just full of creative opportunities no matter how you choose to play. A child can learn so much through playdough play, which makes it one of my all time favourite activities!
Presenting your child with a blank canvas like the free printables below will enable them to get creative and use their imagination whilst learning so much at the same time – creating playdough foods is so much fun and something that every child can relate to 🙂
The Benefits of Playdough Free Printable + Favourite Food Playdough Mats
Have fun with little ones creating your favourite meals with playdough, whilst getting all the benefits that come with playing with playdough! Get you’s now for free 🙂
Benefits of Playdough The Short Version!
Playing with Playdough is a great way for little ones to engage in creative play with numerous benefits with little effort!
Using play doh food as an example of the skills toddlers can develop, and the playdough learning benefits for preschoolers, playdough proves itself to be a must for little ones!
The benefits of playdough include:
- Creativity and the use of Imagination
- Sensory play with Calming effects
- Fine Motor Skills Development
- Hand-eye Co-ordination Improvement
- Early Maths Skills Opportunities
- Social Skills Practice
- Promotes Creative Play
With all these benefits of playdough, what are you waiting for?!
Crack open the playdough, get your free mats above, and get creating with your little ones for hours of fun and learning!
Louisa | Mum’s creative Cupboard x
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