What we know about using play dough!
Why play dough is important for children's development.
Every day at the Kids Tinkering Studio Ltd, we see our children rolling, stretching, molding and defining with play dough. Our young Toddlers and Preschoolers love to play with play dough especially when given a few toys such as a rolling pin or a block the play dough becomes a powerful way to support learning in the classroom.
This simple staple of our classroom strengthens the small muscles in their fingers- the very fingers they will be using to hold a pencil and crayons. We know that using play dough builds language and literacy, science, and math skills—all at the same time!
Aunty Krystal allows her Toddlers to manipulate play dough everyday to shape letters, numbers and their names. Their favorite part is to create their own stories using play dough as the characters. Play dough is perfect for them to use their noodles or imagination!
So this is what we know.
1. It’s great for fine motor skills. Children really need to have strong muscles in their hands for writing, cutting, and other tasks. They do so much with play dough to build those muscles: roll, flatten, chop, cut, poke, squash, pinch, cut, pound, and manipulate!
2. Play dough really engages the senses, which is so important for young children. When you use play dough with different media (pasta, rocks, and more) you create a multi-sensory experience. At Kids Tinkering Studio Ltd we encourage these experiences even in our Infant program with our babies who start with us at 6 months old.
3. Play dough really is a good medium for children's imagination. There is no end to what kids can pretend with play dough, especially if you have the right props. Yes, the secret to making play dough fun is having other toys go with it – sticks, straws, toy animals even blocks. You’d be amazed at all the things you already have that children would enjoy once paired with play dough. In our STEM room we use play dough in Engineering and Mathematics mostly and the children build amazing structures with sticks and play dough.
4. We have noticed that using play dough regularly increases the attention span of the children in our programs. It requires focus to create and this is a great way to develop those skills. They will soon forget about the screen time!
5. When children are using play dough with their friends, it helps to develop their social skills and language. In our Preschool program we talk about what they are doing and making. When they are building together in the class room we listen and observe. Language is a part of sharing what they are working on and we encourage them to verbally share their ideas with each other.
So please go out and buy play dough or make your own at home with your toddler or preschooler, there is really so much more to play dough than just a sticky, messy dough!