Other than an empty box, play-dough is one of the most inexpensive toys for preschool kids. It’s easy to make at home with ordinary ingredients. And the play, learning and readiness for kindergarten is extra ordinary. When playing with play-dough these are some of the skills developed:
- fine motor dexterity and strength; hand-eye coordination, visualizing,
- vocabulary and descriptive language, measuring, counting, pre-writing,
- sensory information such as shapes, texture, temperature, touch, size,
- problem-solving, planning, imagining and pretending,
Plus, play-dough can help as little ones learn numbers and letters which also helps for kindergarten readiness. Learning to use scissors with play-dough is much easier than with paper. Following is a recipe. When I make play-dough with little helping hands, I first put the bowl on the table as we measure out the ingredients but leave the teakettle on the counter. When it comes time to pour in the boiling water, I give each of the kids a small bit of flour to spread all around the table and I remove the flour bowl and put it in the sink. I feel safer with the hot water far away. Plus, if any water spills it goes in the sink not on them nor can I accidentally tip it on myself.
- In a big bowl measure 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1-2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, color–either 1 pack of koolaid or a few drops of food coloring.
- Put the bowl in the sink and measure in 1 & 1/2 cups of boiling water. Stir mixture, with bowl in sink, until cool enough for the little helping hands at the table to knead.
Cream of tartar is pricey but it helps to preserve. Instead, I have substituted citric acid crystals. We can use play-dough to make all kinds of shapes and we can shape growing minds. What fun does your child have with play-dough?