Play dough —it's the childhood favorite that every parent loves (and loves to hate for its messiness). This modeling clay was originally made as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s but was reborn as an educational toy in the 1950s. Play dough is the perfect toy for kids of all ages because it is non-toxic and reusable.
While the clay often ends up dried-out on your kitchen table, the benefits of this simple toy far outweigh the costs.
Besides hours of countless fun for your kids, what are the benefits of playing with play dough?
1. It develops fine motor skills
While your kids are molding play dough into different shapes, they are actually building up strength in their tiny hands. The acts of squishing, rolling, flattening, and more help your children develop muscles used in their hands for fine motor movements useful in the future, such as holding a pencil or using scissors.
2. It's calming for children
Much like the squishy stress ball you pull out from time to time, squeezing play dough is great for helping calm down your kids. Playing with the clay can help ease tension, release excess energy, improve focus, and express emotions. If your child is feeling stressed, sit them down with a container of play dough and watch their worries fade away.
3. It encourages creativity
No matter how many colors you have, there is an unlimited number of creations your kids can make from play dough. Creating objects from scratch encourages your kids to stretch their imaginations and think in new and innovative ways.
4. It enhances hand-eye coordination
Along with play dough, you probably picked up different materials and tools, such as rolling pins and cookie cutters. These tools, which come in a variety of sizes, develop your child's hand-eye coordination by forcing them to manipulate the materials to fit their ideas.
5. It improves social skills
When your child works with other kids or even adults while playing with play dough, it’s great practice for social settings. Between sharing various colors, tools, and materials, as well as spending ample time together discussing and collaborating, your children will get great practice with their social skills. Ask your children to describe their process while they play to help them out of their comfort zone and to engage with others.
6. It supports literacy and numeracy
It's difficult to get kids interested in learning, especially about tricky subjects like reading or math. play dough is an awesome tool for teaching your children about counting, shapes, descriptions, and more.
7. It promotes playtime
In today's technology-driven world, kids are constantly drawn to the next gadget. Instead of letting your kids sit in front of the TV all day, give them play dough and encourage time spent disconnected. Play dough helps kids slow down and focus on playing while using a number of senses and skills in the process.
If you needed convincing, it's clear now that play dough is worth the trouble of cleaning up. This classic toy has been around for decades, and it's clear why—with this great toy at home, your kids will have [fun and develop necessary skills for life.