When your preschooler is experimenting, they’re also learning. This is especially true when they’re playing with a easy-to-mold clay like Playdough. It stimulates their senses, as well as gives them an opportunity to use their imagination. Just one tube can provide endless hours of excitement for your budding learner, not to mention helping their hand-eye coordination, and general concentration. Try some or all of these ideas to help promote educational fun:

Use Cookie Cutters to Learn About Animals

Roll the Playdough flat on the table and treat it just like cookie dough, pressing cookie cutters in it to make shapes. Then, you can use your Playdough cut outs to teach them about animals’ characteristics and sounds. Even if you don’t have cookie cutters, you can walk toy figurines across the dough to make footprints or even just make them yourself. It’s not as difficult as it may sound; anyone can roll Playdough into a snake!

Mold Letters and Numbers

One of the easiest things to do with Playdough is to roll it into thin strips and mold it into shapes and numbers. Work together to spell out easy sight words or your child’s name. You can also roll out little balls of Playdough and then count how many you have with younger children not yet ready to make numerals on their own.

Add Another Element to it

Having a wide range of additional extras to use while playing with Playdough extends the investigation and play possibilities. If your child is old enough to handle small pieces, try incorporating things like beads, shells, pasta and buttons into your play. Poking it with pasta sticks provides a challenge and a new physical skill. Squeezing it through the holes of a button leads to awe and amazement at seeing it change shape, as well as using a gross motor skill to accomplish it. 

Take it Outside

Who says Playdough has to be an indoor activity? Getting your little one outdoors with Playdough is great for them, and it’ll make for an easier cleanup for you! By providing objects from your backyard with a wide range of textures, colours and shapes, children can have multi-sensory experiences and engage with the world around them in a whole new way. Use leaves and sticks on flattened Playdough to make a pizza, or build a little house and decorate it with mud and flowers. A few rocks is all your child needs to take their Playdough sessions to a whole new level.

As part of simple, tactile play, Playdough can be squashed, rolled, chopped, flattened, squeezed, cut, punctured, poked and and much more! Each one of these different actions aids your child’s fine motor, development in a different way.

Now is the time, while your child is of preschool age, to start working on these crucial developmental steps. Learning patterns established before the age of 5 significantly affect a child's learning capacity for the future. For more information on making sure your child is ready for kindergarten download our free eBook, 10 Reasons Why Kindergarten is Too Late.

Topics: Child care

Beth Lobdell

Written by Beth Lobdell

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