What are the Benefits of Playdough and Why is it an Essential in the Classroom?

Play dough is fun and popular with young children and adults. We just love the feel – the squishy the squashy, rolling, poking, shredding, shaping and creating. But why is it so enjoyable? Why is it so soothing? Why do we recommend that all children have access to playdough in their classroom environment?

Benefits of Play dough?
The malleable properties of playdough make it appealing for exploration and creativity while at the same time it supports in building up vital fine motor skills for children. Playdough helps children developing all their tiny hand muscles and tendons as an important prerequisite for writing. It is an amazing tool for them to get themselves ready for pencil and scissor control later on. 
As children are enjoying their playdough play they are also developing their hand-eye coordination and concentration. A great example I would like to share here is the spaghetti and cheerio’s activity. Children will poke spaghetti into a lump of playdough and will carefully thread the cheerio’s onto the spaghetti. We can also use beads, buttons and wooden hoops for the same activity. Additional extras extends the investigation and play possibilities endlessly.

Imagination and creativity can blossom through playdough play. Children can create whatever they think of. Cakes, cupcakes, pizzas, cars, buildings and even small people. Imaginative small world play can reach a range of realms. Children may create their own cake or ice cream stand. They can make all the animals in a jungle and make different animal sounds to enhance upon their creations.

Imagination and creativity can blossom through playdough play. Children can create whatever they think of. Cakes, cupcakes, pizzas, cars, buildings and even small people. Imaginative small world play can reach a range of realms. Children may create their own cake or ice cream stand. They can make all the animals in a jungle and make different animal sounds to enhance upon their creations.

Children are able to express their emotions while using dough. During the play, while they talk and sing practitioners have often found that they are able to get to know their children better. 
Is playdough just playing? A question often asked. Though playdough children learn many essential academic skills. Playdough enables maths and literacy development and supports extended vocabulary development.
Playdough can be shaped into letters, numbers and shapes. The playdough can be in different colours. Two colours mixed together – what colour does it make? The learning opportunities are endless. Science and investigation is supported through playdough too. We can show and involve children in the playdough making process. Measurements, textures and what happens when you mix the solids and liquids in the recipe card. And oh yes – they also learn how to use recipe cards, follow instructions, make measurements and see the end product of their task.

Playdough is an amazing learning tool and should always be available in the classroom for the children to explore in a variety of ways. Why limit their imagination by giving them playdough cutters – give them the opportunity to further their imagination. You will be so pleasantly surprised how playdough play supports hours of enjoyment, imaginations, calming skills, predictions and yes it does help them reach their academic goals.
Below are some lovely playdough options that can support and help enhance your children’s playdough play experience:  
Exploration, Prediction and Investigation – example: hiding objects inside a ball of playdough. predict what is inside, name it and match it to a image or word card.

Nature Exploration – using twigs, leaves, herbs to support connection with nature.

Mark Making: what marks can we make in the playdough?

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