Squidge, squeegee, skerwelch! My kids, especially my toddlers love playdoh, or playdough if you prefer. In fact, so do I. It’s a fantastic kid's activity that is great for all ages and all generations. We’ve spent many a happy rainy morning with grandparents all playing and learning with play doh.
But you know what? It’s not just a fun way to pass a bit of time. It’s a great learning opportunity too. You don’t have to plan it out, just see where it takes you.
Here are a few things that my two year old twins learnt about yesterday when we did play doh.
Things You Can Learn With Play Dough
- Colours. Bright primary colour, beautiful soft pastels, either way, play doh is a great opportunity to learn about colours. Depending on the developmental stage of your child, you can ask questions like “which is the red one?” (if they are young, only give them a choice of two or three). As they get older, you can ask more complex questions such as “what colour is that?”
- Counting. You can make balls, bears, starts, blobs, whatever you please! Then practice counting them. As your children get older, they can count by themselves and you can start to do simple adding and subtracting with them.
- Singing. My daughter made a star out of a cookie cutter and started singing “twinkle twinkle”. She initiated it and we all joined in. (Sebastian’s version being “star, star, star”!) Colour and counting songs would be another great idea. (Such as “5 little ducks”, you could make some yellow ducks or “5 Fine Bumble Bees”. The rainbow song is another family favourite.)
- Fine Motor Skills. Play doh is a great way to practice fine motor skills. Specifically, you can practice using a knife and fork and “cut, cut, cutting” things up. Away from the dinner table they are less likely to get frustrated when they can’t do it.
- Imaginative Play. Let them take the lead. My son loves cooking and playing with his saucepans so he ran off to get a saucepan and started “mix, mix, mixing”. Remember to take the “carrots” out of the pan before using it to make dinner.
- Sharing. I step out of the room for 10 seconds to get a pen. Queue shouting and screaming. WE BOTH WANT THE SAME THING! (One of the hazards of being a twin.) How about we share it? Celeste can have it for 2 minutes and Sebastian can have it for 2 minutes. (Or mummy can make it disappear and we can find something else to play with.)
- Tidying up. If you don’t tidy up after play doh, your play doh won’t last very long. It will dry up and go hard. Make tidying up a group activity and they’ll learn that after having fun, they can have more fun putting everything away. (And if you do find some dried up play doh, try adding a drop of water and leaving it in the sealed pot for a few day. It may come back to life.)
What a great way to stimulate those little minds and fingers, playing and learning with play dough.