Play dough is great for fine motor work! Originally I had not intended to write a post about play dough activities but as today is National Play Dough day (Seriously. For real!), and I had these photos from a recent play dough session with with my 5 year old, it seemed like a fun idea. Perhaps this list of items will inspire your children's free play.
Long time readers (you are totally awesome) are aware that my youngest still struggles with his fine motor work. Setting out a batch of play dough with small objects is an invitation for him to engage all those small motor muscles that are so important for handwriting skills.
On this day I decided to make my very first batch of cooked play dough! Can you believe it? How very ambitious of me. I've always made no-cook play dough in the past, but WOW, the difference is huge. Cooked play dough isn't actually all that hard and it is way, way better. I may never take the lazy way out again!
Here's the classic cooked play dough recipe that we used:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ cup salt
- 2 tbsp cream of tartar
- food coloring
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until the water is absorbed and it forms a ball. Remove from pan and let cool. Knead until smooth.
I made two colors (blue and green - as you see). No need to wash the pot in between batches!
While just a ball of play dough is good for fine motor just from squeezing and shaping it, my son is not very interested in simply sculpting the dough, so I entice him with a variety of small items. I've found lots of inspiration from things lying around the apartment. (One of the benefits of not being neat and tidy.) Here is a list of ideas for things you can add to your child's play dough play.
Toys for Play Dough
- small toy animals or vehicles
- all those millions of small goodie bag fillers your child gets at birthday parties!
Craft Items for Play Dough
- pipe cleaners (cut up or whole)
- googley eyes
- rubber stamps
- popsicle sticks
Nature Items for Play Dough
- rocks and pebbles
Household Items for Play Dough
- caps left over from dried out markers
- paper clips
- straws (cut up or whole)
- small cookie cutters (I prefer very small cutters like the ones you see in the photo because they really require the pincer grasp)
- bottle caps (metal or plastic)
- scissor (cutting play dough is much easier than cutting paper)
- outlet covers
- old keys
- nuts and bolts
- small game pieces like checkers or Scrabble pieces
Sensory Objects for Play Dough
- cinnamon sticks
- dried pasta
- dried beans
More play dough ideas your kids will love! Happy Play Dough Day!
- Edible Pumpkin Pie Play Dough from Coffee Cups and Crayons
- Fall Play Dough Fun from Craftulate
- Celebrate Play Dough from Mama Smiles
- How to Make Crayon Play Dough from Sugar Aunts
- Beach Themed Microwave Play Dough from Teach Me Mommy
- Gingerbread Play Dough from FSPDT
- Fall Play Dough Mats from This Reading Mama
- No Cool Natural Cinnamon Play Dough from Natural Beach Living
- Play Dough Activities All Year Long from Little Bins for Little Hands
- Gingerbread Play Dough from The Pleasantest Thing
- Free Fall Play Dough Mats from Life Over C's