By Lily Maznah Muas
One item that can create and recreate “new” toys is the simple, unassuming playdough. Playdough can be pinched, rolled, pulled, molded and twisted into many ways. It can be a ball, a bowl, a spoon, a doll… oh, the possibility is endless! It also has many colours to choose from. And best of all, it is inexpensive and you can even make them at home!
Apart from it being “fun”, playdough can assist in the children’s development and learning process.
Let us explore the benefits of Playdough.
- The act of pulling, pinching, twisting are great ways to help children develop their gross and fine motor skills. For younger children, give them fist-sized portion to start with. Then, show them the various ways of molding the playdough into various shapes. The act of rolling into a ball and rolling into a long snake requires different hand motions, which are good exercises for them too. This is part of their gross motor skills development.
Once they get a hang of this, teach them how to pinch out the playdough into smaller bits. For more advanced activity, teach them how to pinch and fold like a “curry puff” seam. Even adults can learn to do this using a playdough! These activities help develop their fine motor skills as well.
- Playdough help children to think creatively and imaginatively. Some of the playdough boxes have examples of what you can make from them. Use these as samples for them to try. Once they learn the various techniques of shaping the playdough, let them explore and try out with their own imagination and creativity. You’ll be surprised how creative they can be when they are given the freedom to create their own designs. My children loved to make tea sets complete with cups, saucers, teapot with tiny bananas, apples and other “food” on a platter. Then, we have fun pretending to enjoy the tea together!
- Playdough can be a stress reliever for the child. Give them a bigger sized portion to knead, twist, pull, punch or pinch and allow them to channel their energy and vent up feelings towards this activity. Adults can benefit from this activity too.
- Playdough can be use to introduce the concept of three dimensional shapes to the child. Draw shapes such as circles, squares and rectangles and ask the child to create a 3D version of the shapes. For younger children, being able to mold the playdough into a round ball, a cube and a cuboid is an achievement by itself. By using these shapes, think how you can combine them to create a new “toy”. A robot, perhaps?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to using their creativity and imagination with playdough. Not only the children, but adults can benefit a lot from the simple playdough.