I have been chatting all about playing with play dough the past few months and I am finally ready to tell you why. I won’t lie, part of the reason why is because I will be selling play dough kits right here on the blog. But the main reasons, the reasons that you care about are:
- My kids and I genuinely enjoy playing with play dough.
- There are tons of sensory and fine motor benefits
- All of the creativity!
I Enjoy Play Dough
My kids love play dough. We play with it daily and it was Reagan’s number one Santa request this year. And you know what I genuinely enjoy it too. As a mom, I am terrible at playing with my kids, that sounds horrible to say, but I simply do not like pretend play. It makes me feel all sorts of awkward. Learning activities are totally my jam, but Rea and D don’t want me to only do learning activities with them, they want me to play with them. Genuinely play, without any expectation to complete a project. That is where play dough comes in to save the day. I can totally play with play dough. I like to squish it through my fingers and design mini foods or animals with it. I think of it as ceramics (a class I failed) with cheap materials.
Sensory and Fine Motor Benefits of Play Dough
Wholly moly, play dough is a hot ticket sensory and fine motor tool. Just about every pediatric speech therapist, occupational therapist, and behavioral therapist has a few play dough ideas. It is such a wonderful, versatile, and enjoyable material.
Pinching, rolling, and pulling play dough works on developing fine motor skills. As your child molds the play dough into various cutters and shapes they are using hand-eye coordination, strengthening their muscles and improving their dexterity.
You can use play dough to build social skills as you graduate from solitary play, to parallel play, to pretend play. Adding props and materials, like the ones in my play dough kits, will help the play evolve.
Play dough can be used to simply spark conversation. Ask your child to tell you about their play dough creation. As they begin to tell you about it you can repeat back to them what they said using proper language skills to model vocabulary and storytelling. To our children, this is simply playing with play dough, but you know the speech and sensory benefits behind it.
Playing with play dough is a fabulous way to engage in your creative side. You can use play dough to make models and molds, but our favorite way to create is to make small worlds. We like to use play dough kits with loose parts to create small worlds or any thematic play. We have created dinosaur Jurassic parks and unicorn homes with dough and loose parts from our play dough kits. I love seeing my kids play dough creations and seeing their creativity soar. And frankly, I love how it encourages me to create too.
For us play dough is a daily thing. It is a way that I can sit down, play, and connect with my kids and that is something that I can sometimes struggle with. So I embrace play dough. I welcome it in my home with open arms. And I even grin and bear it when my kids mix two brand new doughs together and mix the colors.