At first glance that ball of Play-Doh™ or clay may look like nothing, but a mess waiting to happen – and it can get messy. But kids love to play with these and other similar “doughs”, and clay and Play-Doh play can actually help with child development.
As parents we strive to help our children succeed, and try to provide them with the best tools to learn and grow. So, what if that colorful, pliable little ball of dough is more than it appears to be? It is, clay and Play-doh games offer your child numerous benefits and promote developmental growth.
Next time you’re cleaning PlayDoh off of your furniture, just remember these benefits reaped by your child while creating that mess. Here’s how the stuff can help.
Strengthening Fine Motor Skill Development
From the time our children are born they begin learning the basics of motor skills, from moving their arms and legs to opening their hands for the first time. Play-doh, clay and other moldable substances help young children develop fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills are precise and deliberate actions performed by various parts of our body. The constant movement of kneading, rolling, pressing and shaping dough, as well as the force required by little hands to do so is highly beneficial. This process strengthens the muscles in their hands, fingers and wrists that are required for other manual activities – such as holding a pencil properly and learning to write, or feeding themselves with utensils, without making a mess.
As our children grow they begin to realize they don’t need mom and dad for everything. They start learning to entertain themselves and enjoy this new found feeling of empowerment. Developing independence in a healthy way is an important part of every child’s life. Learning independence as a child supports our self sufficiency as adults.
Play-doh creates the perfect opportunity for our children to play and explore unguided. There are no directions, no rules, it’s non toxic and they can’t break it, so minimal supervision is needed, other than checking that they’re not using it inappropriately.
Encouraging Thought to Action Development
Play-doh unleashes the highest levels of your child’s creativity, because it is nothing until they turn it into something. The creative process begins with thought. Before they can make that green clay dinosaur, or pink PlayDoh flower or toy doll, they must decide how they are going to go about it and what their goal is supposed to look like. The thought is then put into action beneath the hands of your child.
This skill is a crucial part of every day life. So, what looks like your child simply rolling a fleet of clay worms, is really much, much more.
Improving Logical Skills
Play-Doh games are often combined with “cookie cutter” tools, which increase creative capabilities. By adding letter, number and shape cutters to your child’s play-doh tools you are providing a great learning tool.
By cutting out circles and letters your child is associating that shape or letter with something they created. This makes it not just a square, but their square. They are much more likely to retain the knowledge this way as opposed to seeing a square or letter in a book. The best part is that they don’t realize they are learning – they are simply playing and having fun.
These are just some of the great rewards gained by Play-Doh games or playing with clay. The possibilities are endless, and yet the stuff itself is cheap, so you can save a lot of money on toys if your kids like it. Who knew such a simple thing could provide so much for your child?
This post was not sponsored or supported by Play-Doh in any way – we just think it’s great stuff for kids.