Why Using Playdoh in Preschool is the Perfect Way to Build Fine Motor Skills
Did you play with playdoh as a child? The satisfying feeling of squishing the dough through your fingers is hard to forget. As it turns out, Play-Doh can be more than just a fun activity for kids. It can also help them develop important fine motor skills. Here’s why using Play-Doh in preschool is the perfect way to build those all-important skills.
General Benefits of Using Playdoh in Preschool
Are you looking for a play-based activity that provides both entertainment and skill development? Playdoh is the perfect choice! Not only is playdoh fun to squish, roll, and shape, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to practice fine motor skills. Through finger and hand manipulation play of playdoh, kids can build up strength in their fingers, hands, and wrists.
It’s also an outlet for creativity to express themselves as they make three-dimensional creations with playdoh’s varied colors and textures. So grab some playdoh next time you’re looking for a fun activity that won’t just entertain your preschool children but will also help them grow.
How Playdoh Helps with Fine Motor Development
Not only is playdoh fun to squish, roll, and shape, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to practice fine motor skills. The squishy dough can be used to help young kids develop fine motor skills through pinching, pulling, rolling, and squeezing. As they manipulate the playdoh, children build strength in their fingers, hands, and wrists.
Cutting playdoh with plastic scissors is an excellent way to build scissor skills for cutting paper later on. Rolling logs, pinching off sections, and rolling balls of dough builds dexterity and hand strength.
Letting children play with playdoh while their hands are developing will help lay the foundation for more complex fine motor tasks like cutting with scissors and writing with a pencil in the future. Playing with playdoh is a great way to prepare children for the fine motor tasks they’ll encounter later on in life.
Tools to Use with Playdoh
Working with different playdoh tools is just one way that children can express their creativity, explore the playdoh, and build fine motor skills. There are numerous tools designed to be used with playdoh, and you can even use household items with it!
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, cut and shape it with playdoh scissors or cookie cutters, make impressions and patterns on it with stamps – the possibilities are endless! For instance, children can roll the dough flat with a rolling pin and pretend they are making pizza. Then, they can use a toy pizza roller to cut it into slices. As they use their fine motor skills, they can engage in academic talk as they discuss the shapes (a circle pizza and a triangle slice.)
Loose parts make a great addition to the playdoh center. Give children nuts, bolts, pony beads, straws, toothpicks, and any number of other objects to press or hide in the playdoh. Your creativity is the only limit when it comes to playdoh tools!
Tips for Using Playdoh with Young Children
Playdoh is a kids’ classic, providing hours of fun and creativity. Here are some helpful tips for using playdoh with preschoolers. Determine the rules you want children to follow when it comes to mixing colors or keeping them separate. To keep the playdoh fresh, store it in an airtight container. Clear containers are perfect so you can easily see what color is inside.
Homemade playdoh is always fun to make. There are so many easy recipes available online. Most of the recipes use common household ingredients like flour, oil, salt, and cream of tartar.
Homemade playdoh is even more fun when you mix colors or add scents like cocoa powder or vanilla extract. At Christmas, I love adding peppermint extract and fine glitter to white playdoh and calling it “snow dough!” Check out my favorite homemade playdoh recipe here!
If you’re concerned about children putting playdoh in their mouths, there are even edible recipes that are nontoxic and safe to eat. Talk about a multi-sensory experience filled with taste, touch, and smell!
Using Playdoh in Preschool Learning Activities
Incorporating playdoh into preschool learning activities is fun and easy to do. Playdoh mats are one great way to promote learning. For instance, playdoh prompts can be used to promote reading or listening comprehension. As children are read the prompt, they must focus and pay careful attention to the directions. Then, they demonstrate comprehension of those directions when they create something with playdoh on the mat.
Playdoh mats can be switched out seasonally or for holidays. That way children never get tired of doing the same mats over and over. Some mats, like these FREE Playdoh Alphabet Mats, can be kept out for year-round enjoyment.
Simple addition or subtraction problems are extra fun to solve using playdoh. Children build dough balls to represent the numbers in the problem and then act it out to solve it.
Syllable Smash is another fun learning activity with playdoh. Have children make a row of playdoh balls and then squish one ball for each syllable in a word. What a fun way to build phonemic awareness while building fine motor skills!
Creative Expression with Playdoh
Doesn’t a playdoh Hair Salon sound fun? Let children roll and twist “hair” out of playdoh and then use plastic scissors to give the customer a haircut. “Build a Face” is another fun playdoh activity where children can be creative in expressing themselves.
Speaking of building a face with playdoh, did you know that you can get skin-colored playdoh? I love this for our All About Me unit and for social emotional learning!
Playdoh task cards are a great way to encourage children when they can’t think of what to build with playdoh. These task cards can also be used with your various theme units and added to your fine motor or playdoh center.
So, why is playdoh so great for kids? It provides a fun way for kids to develop their fine motor skills as they squish, roll, and pinch the dough. It also helps improve hand-eye coordination and encourages creativity as children come up with new ways to use the colorful clay.
In addition to these benefits, playing with playdoh can also promote language development and social interaction. As if that weren’t enough, making your own homemade playdoh is easy and inexpensive! Have I convinced you yet that playdoh activities should be a part of your preschool or kindergarten classroom?
Printables to Pair with Playdoh
Check out these fun printables and activities to use with playdoh. Make learning fun while promoting fine motor skills in your preschoolers!
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