I remember as a child that my parents warned family members against ever giving me or my sisters any type of play dough toy saying it was a hard toy to clean up. While I understand my parents’ apprehension, I strongly encourage my five year old daughter to play with play dough anytime she wants to. As a bonus, it makes a great inexpensive treat to refill. Here are eight fun activities we do together that encourage learning and one final tip for parents.
Using different colors and shapes I can create a pattern and lay it out on the table. I ask my daughter to tell me what should come next. Next, she has a turn to come up with her own pattern.
Cut out letters and make word
By rolling the play dough out flat I have my daughter use a dull plastic knife to cut out letters. Before she was able to do that we would roll the dough into snakes and shape them into letters. Now she is learning sight words so I make words from the letters for her to read.
Create storybook characters
After reading a new book I test my child’s comprehension by asking her to create one of the main characters. We also act out a scenes from the story or talk about what order events happen.
Create settings for small toys
My daughter has a variety of small character figurines that she receives from kid meals, birthday parties and yard sales. Instead of getting the larger toys that go with the figurines we create our own settings for them to play. We have made forests, boats and one really big island. There is no limit to the places we make.
After creating different balls of dough, poke holes in the shapes. Leave the dough out to dry and when it becomes hard run string through the holes.
Practice math concepts
One fun way to practice addition and subtraction is by counting or taking away small balls of dough. I have also introduced fractions by cutting shapes into equal parts. My favorite is to make a play dough pizza or cake and slice it up.
Make your own dough
My daughter loves to make things in the kitchen so making an edible play dough is fun to do and pretty tasty. FamilyCorner.com offers different recipes that include a wide range of ingredients.
Recycle play dough containers
We have found several great ideas on the Play Doh website for things to create with different containers when they are empty.
Play dough for parents
I also encourage parents to use play dough to relieve stress. Everyone at my workplace has a container at their desk and you can see them squeezing, pounding, and rolling the dough when working on a project or reading a lengthy document.