Looking for an activity to keep your kids busy with? Look no further! Making play dough with kids is easy, fun and great for their fine motor skills and learning.
The Spurgeons Wiltshere Children’s Centres team have provided us with the recipe to share, and details of how playing with the dough encourages kids’ development.
You will need:
- 165 grams of flour
- 300 grams of salt
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 200ml water
- A small amount of food colouring as required.
How to make the dough:
Measure out the flour, salt, oil, and food colouring and put it in a mixing bowl.
Using a wooden spoon, start to mix the ingredients together.
Add more flour until the mixture becomes dry, and now use hands to mix in the extra flour.
Now you have a ball of play dough, and kids could try using a potato masher, child scissors, or a fork and knife to make patterns and shapes. Encourage them to get creative with finding things to use with the dough- for example, driving a toy car across it after rolling it out.
Remember that there is no right way of playing with play dough. You can be as creative as you like and use any tools that you can find!
After making the dough store it in the fridge in a plastic container and it will last for 2 weeks.
Some benefits of playing with play dough include:
Developing their fine motor skills
By moulding and making marks in the play dough, children are building up the strength in the fingers and hands. Movements such as rolling and squashing etc. are helping children build up the muscles in their hands that are needed for holding a pen/pencil and using scissors.
It can be calming for children – squeezing play dough can be a great way to ease tension and calm children down, as well improve focus, release excess energy and express emotions.
It can encourage creativity
Children have an unlimited number of ways to play with play dough, there is no one way of playing with it! You can make play dough using different colours as well.
It can enhance hand-eye coordination
By using utensils such as rolling pins and biscuit cutters, which come in lots of different shapes and sizes, children can learn hand-eye coordination by giving them the space to manipulate the materials to fit their ideas.
It can improve social skills
Whether they are playing with other children or an adult, interacting with other people is great for building up social skills in children. Even if it’s just sharing different colours of play dough, sharing tools and materials, or simply just spending time with another person, it can all greatly improve a child’s confidence in social situations.
It can support literacy and numeracy skills
Play dough can be a great tool in introducing counting, shapes, describing etc. As they play, encourage children to describe what they’re doing and making. With words such as roll, squeeze and flatten, if these are words they don’t know, adults can help the children learn by saying the words as they do the actions. Encouraging children to help with measuring out the recipe is also a great opportunity to teach them numeracy.
It can promote playtime
Play dough can be a simple, yet great tool to get children to play away from screens. The use of play dough can also be great in promoting the use of the different senses and it can be played with either outside or inside.