Playdough is an inexpensive toy, whether homemade or store bought, and it can be used over and over again to support young children as they learn and play. For a Dinovember play-of-the-day activity, combine some playdough, dinosaurs, and maybe a few other items too.
For an invitation to play, I simply put some playdough, small plastic dinosaurs and a few accessories, like small pieces of wood, a few rocks, some pale but clear bits of glass to be water, and a few small plastic eggs that open and close. Both Big Sister (6) and Little Sister (3) loved the dinosaurs. They played in different ways, Big Sister made stories and scenes, while Little Sister pushed the dinosaurs into the playdough in different positions. She especially liked standing them on their tails. But they each directed their own play and interacted part of the time. Later on, Big Sister made tracks with the dinosaurs and then matched them up with the corresponding feet.
Playdough is not just fun, it’s also great for learning. As kids play with playdough, they are also improving their fine motor dexterity. The small muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists are still developing. The brain also gets lots of exercise for problem-solving and planning and other thinking skills. Since it’s so easy to work with, kids can create, smoosh it back together, and create some more. This also helps develop concentration and focusing skills and encourages stretching attention span too. As kids talk and explain, they are practicing ways of using language. Playdough is ideal for little hands and for sensory stimulation. Fingers love to feel how it squishes, rolls, stretches, and flattens. The different items of the dinosaurs, playdough, sticks, and glass bits gave the fingers more textures to explore.
There are some wonderful sensory bins that we may try another day for a different kind of experience. Play can be simple or elaborate, and unlike the dinosaurs, it never goes extinct, although if someone leaves the playdough out it gets almost as hard as fossils. Hmm…maybe that could be an idea for another day?
FREE ONLINE COURSE
Enroll in this free online course, Brain Power and Play for Young Children, to learn how to boost your child's brain power before kindergarten!