Play dough. You either love it or hate it, and let me tell you, kids love it! I love how it keeps small children entertained for hours. I don’t love how it can get into carpet, and is hard to get out. Thankfully, as we added more children to our family, we were able to get laminate wood floors. This makes playdough clean up a breeze. Play dough can be a great teaching tool for children that love sensory, and hands-on activities.
I actually enjoy using play dough with my preschoolers. It keeps them busy when I am working with my older children one on one. It is also a calming, sensory activity. You can make home made play dough with nice scents that calm. You can even add flowers and glitter to play dough for more sensory fun.
Play dough can also be used as a learning activity in your homeschool. It keeps your children engaged and interested in what you are learning. It is also amazing for helping to develop fine motor skills in young children. I don’t normally use a formal preschool curriculum, so I am always looking for ways for my young children to learn during play.
Play dough is a great option to add to a learning play time. As long as you lay down some ground rules before hand, it doesn’t have to be stressful or too messy. I always make sure that my children know that they can’t walk around the house with play dough. They have to stay in one spot at a table, or on a play mat to play with it. They can not smash it into things, and all the smashing has to be done on the play surface.
Check out these fun ways to teach with play dough:
STEM Challenges and Activities:
Did you know that you can use play dough for some really cool STEM activities? Your children can build animals, towers and people with play dough. They are learning about math with they build 2D shapes. There are also some fun STEM challenges created just for using play dough.
Create a STEM Challenge with marbles and play dough from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
Button and Play Dough STEM Activity Challenge – The Educators Pin on It
The Importance of Bones Play-Doh Skeleton STEM Activity – Mom Brite
Play Dough and Blocks Building Activity – Twin Mom Refreshed
Easy Play Dough Circuits – Teach Beside Me
Developing Fine Motor Skills:
Playing with play dough can help to build fine motor skills. When your child plays with play dough they squish and squeeze, and roll, pat and smash it together. All of these movements build the muscles in their fingers. When they are making more intricate creations with faces, and eyes and creating things it helps their hand eye coordination as well.
Here are some fun fine motor skill activities and even more ideas on how to use play dough for fine motor skills:
Fine Motor Skills Play Dough Task Cards – Pre-K Pages
Play Dough I Can Task Cards perfect for following directions and fine motor skills – Pre-K Pages
The Best Hands-On Play Dough Activities to Build Fine Motor Skills – ILS Learning Corner
Play Dough Activities with Maximum Benefit – OT Mom Learning Activities
Using Play Dough to Develop Fine Motor Skills
Teaching Letters and Reading:
I would’ve never thought to teach another language with play dough! Check out 7 Easy Ways to Teach Chinese and Korean with Play-Dough from Chalk Academy
Alphabet Picture Play Dough Mats – Simple Living Creative Learning
A – Z Ten Frame Mats – Simple Living Creative Learning
How to Teach Phonics with Play Dough – My Teaching Cupboard
Teaching Math and Numbers:
Massive List of Counting Mats – Simple Living Creative Learning
Teaching Numbers with Play Dough – Life Over Cs
Play Dough Math Activities – The OT Toolbox
Here are even more play dough mats broken down by theme or learning type:
50 Free Play Dough Mats for Preschool Fun
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for almost 20 years.. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!