Playdough is certainly one of our staples for quick, educational entertainment! It probably is for you too. All you need is a good playdough recipe and some activity ideas.
Benefits of Playdough
Playdough is great for developing fine motor skills. Manipulating playdough is a great way to strengthen children’s hands in preparation for learning to write. The benefits are even greater if you give them tools such as cutters, extruders and a rolling pin to use with the play dough.
It is a great way for children to use their imagination. Playdough is a blank canvas that can be turned into anything.
Children become engrossed in creating and using their imaginations. You’ll find that playing with playdough regularly will increase their ability to concentrate for extended periods.
Have you ever noticed how often adults can’t resist playing with playdough? That’s because of its great therapeutic value! Playdough is particularly calming and relaxing for anxious children. A few drops of essential oil can add to the calming effects of playdough.
Educational Playdough Activities
I am a fan of talking to our children! Playdough is an excellent opportunity to expand a small child’s vocabulary. As children work on their creations you can use this as an opportunity to introduce new ideas and concepts. Use words like flatten, squeeze and roll.
Playdough is a great tool for teaching literacy and numeracy to kinesthetic learners. Using playdough you can teach children counting, measuring, etc. And it is wonderful for molding and forming letters and numbers.
There’s no need to get upset over children mixing playdough colours. Instead, turn it into a lesson in colour mixing. It’s a great way for little ones to learn and remember the colour wheel.
The educational possibilities are endless. All it takes is a little imagination. If you’re lacking inspiration, you can find some ideas on our Pinterest board, here.
Additions to Playdough
Playdough can be a wonderful sensory experience for children with the addition of bits and pieces you may have around your house.
Essential oils are noteworthy for the therapeutic value they add to playdough. They are easily accessible and cheap. As a result, they make a great addition to homemade playdough.
For kids with colds and congestion a blend of lemon, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint and making breathing easier.
Or, for calming an angry child a blend of vetiver, lavender, and cedarwood. Or, before bedtime let your child play with playdough infused with a blend of lavender, roman chamomile, and orange.
Similarly, herbs and spices make wonderful natural scents and colourants for playdough. You can experiment with cocoa powder, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, etc.
Glitter makes for a more visually appealing play dough that is fun to play with in a sunny spot. Or you could use hundreds and thousands and other cake decorations.
Or if you’re really brave you can try adding fine sand for extra sensory play.
How to Make Your Own Playdough
Playdough is cheap and easy to make at home. I have tried various recipes over the years and resisted those that need to be cooked, however, I have found that this is the best recipe.
It is soft, pliable, not sticky and lasts for months in a sealed container. Best of all, it’s quick to make.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
Food colouring, or additions of your choosing (optional)
Stir together the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot.
Next, add the water and oil.
If you’re only making one colour, add in the colour now as well.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Continue stirring until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball.
Remove from heat and then place onto wax paper.
Allow to cool slightly and then knead until smooth.
If you’re adding colours after, divide the dough into balls (for how many colours you want).
Start with about 5 drops of colour and add more to brighten it.
Once your colour is thoroughly mixed in you can add glitter, hundreds and thousands, essential oils or whatever additions you choose.
We have fun play dough mats available to download to help stimulate your child’s creativity.