Benefits of play dough and how to make it!

Posted on April 18th, 2012
Categories: News

Whilst packing up the house I came across this recipe, which has been a favorite of my children and has kept them busy for hours and hours.  It’s extremely easy to make, they can even help you make it but be prepared for plenty of colourful mess!

Play is the work of the child. Children enjoy every aspect of the exploration of play dough. Using this amazing material is a never ending tactile learning experience for all children. When given play dough, toddlers are instinctively motivated to explore its soft and responsive sensory qualities. They squeeze it, poke it, squash it, pick it up and pat it down. The dough responds to each of their actions and the child is learning that their actions have consequences. Working play dough with their hands develops the child’s large and small muscles and aids eye-hand coordination. It helps to improve fine motor skills which is beneficial to daily activities. Using play dough is a calming activity. Children work their stress out through their hands, so play dough is not only loads of fun, but can be another useful way to help your children to release stress.

Benefits of using play dough:

  • It’s fun!
  • It helps to strengthen small fingers, hands and wrists. Children gain control over their hand and arm movements which improves coordination.
  • Modelling and using cutters & rollers is great for muscle development.
  • It helps to build your child’s imagination.
  • It helps children develop self esteem -there is no right or wrong way to use play dough.
  • Play dough fosters cooperative play. Playing with dough with others helps children understand the importance of sharing.
  • Play dough is a natural outlet through which children can express their emotions.
  • It is a great release for tension or angry feelings – squeezing, punching or working the dough can help ease away these strong emotions.
  • Discussing what has been made helps build communication skills and develops imagination.
  • Dividing it up can be used to help children learn about numbers and counting.
  • Play dough can be used as therapy for children with special needs.
  • Play dough is a lovely open ended toy – it can be anything – food, animals, faces, shapes etc.

The Best Cooked Play Dough Recipe

130g of flour
130g of water
75g cup of salt – this is to help to preserve it!|
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (you can find it in most supermarkets with baking powder etc.)
1 tablespoon of corn/sunflower oil
Food colouring

  1. Place the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately in two bowls. Then pour the dry ingredients into a saucepan (not your finest Le Crueset!) and then pour the wet ingredients into the pan and mix well.
  2. Turn the heat on and mix well until the ingredients change from a lumpy paste into a more robbery blob, it does get rubbery!
  3. Then turn it out onto a working surface that won’t stain and kneed it well.

You can then store it in a plastic zipper-style bag in individual colours.

Give the kids a rolling pin, lots of cookie cutters and away you go! Hours and hours of fun!

Notes: to get a strong colour you need a great deal of food colouring, perhaps even as much as a tablespoon.   The play dough will last for ages if kept in the zipper-style bag.