If you have ever heard me speak at a conference or your school's professional development, then you know that I am a play dough super fan. Play dough offers so many benefits for our young learners. For most children, it is simply fun and engaging but as an educator, I can tell you it is so much more.
Play dough increases young children's' fine motor skills. I'm sure that I am not the only one that recognizes that children are entering school with terrible fine motor skills. A strong tri-pod grasp is crucial for good handwriting skills and we are not doing doing our kids any justice but decreasing play activities that strengthen their hands. For example, play dough, blocks, legos, spooning, tonging, lacing, etc. are all great play based activities that improve fine motor skills. Most technology based toys are not going to do this.
Play dough can also increase a child's hand-eye coordination. There are so many tools that children can use while playing with play dough. It's time to get out the rolling pins, cookie cutters and scissors. Yes, I said scissors. They are another great tool to build fine motor skills.
And, guess what? Play dough can also absolutely enhance learning. Have your students roll the balls to put inside a ten frame, make the letters in their name or a sight word. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Play dough also makes for a fun sensory activity, as it provides a great tactile experience. Some children do not like to touch play dough and that is okay too. Below you will find a great recipe for play dough. If your children don't like to touch it, put it in a bag, draw an adorable snowman face and let them still play. Kids love cooking activities so have them help you make the play dough. It will make a great memory!
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons extra fine white glitter
Orange and black sharpies
Mix together your flour, water, cream of tartar, and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl.
Scoop the mixture into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly until your mixture turns into dough.
Once your dough forms, place it aside to cool off.
Add your white glitter and knead the dough.
Lay a sandwich bag on the table and use a black sharpie to draw two circle eyes and about five circles in the shape of a smile for a mouth.
Use a orange sharpie to draw a triangle carrot shaped nose.
Store in airtight ziplock baggies, flatten dough and you’ll have little snowman bags of play dough.
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