Play dough is that squishy, colorful putty your children love to stick on the carpet. But aside from that, play dough is great for teaching your kids skills that are vital to their development.
In honor of National Play Dough Day (September 16th!) here are five ways Play Dough encourages child development.
1. Develops fine motor skills
Children have a set of milestones they must reach as they develop their fine motor skills. Playing with play dough helps develop these skills, as they pound and roll it.
Although being able to pull and squeeze play dough is a milestone that should be hit between two to three-years-old, children can still gain skills from playing with play dough before that as they grab it with a pincer grasp or transfer the play dough from one hand to another. Helping to develop these fine motor skills will allow your child to learn writing and drawing more easily and earlier in life.
2. Develops creativity, which develops intelligence
Play dough involves a lot of creativity, as your child molds and shapes their putty into any form imaginable. As it turns out, this utilization of the imagination helps children to expand themselves mentally. When children create new things, they are able to learn new things.
3. Develops math and critical thinking skills
Encourage your child to match and sort objects they make out of play dough. Can they sort their squishy creations by color? Or maybe they can identify the largest play dough creation? With unlimited possible creations, there are also unlimited ways to help your child think critically about their creations.
4. Develops bilateral coordination skills
In order to maximize their fun with play dough, children should use both of their hands! Using rolling pins to flatten play dough or a child-safe fork and knife to cut shapes helps children develop their bilateral integration.
5. Develops strong parent-child bonds that last a lifetime
Children are able to express themselves through what they create. When you and your child work with play dough together, you are able to see your child’s world through their point of view. According to one study, this helps parents understand their child more and develop a stronger bond.