The Benefits of Play Dough!


The preschool children have been practicing self-regulation strategies in various ways. One is with the help of an “Emotional Volcano” which Ashley introduced to the children. This picture of a volcano assists the children to identify how they are feeling or what “Zone” they are in at the moment. There are four colours that represent the basic emotions; green for happy, red for angry, blue for sad and yellow for frustrated.

Another activity that the educators present to the group that assists with self-regulation and so many other areas of development is play dough. During this time sensory play has to be very individual. Each child has their own labelled bag of dough. Playing with the dough helps the children to express a range of emotions.

Richard and Faisal pretended to make a rocket ship with their blue play dough which filled them with pride and happiness with their success. Muchen enjoyed squishing and squashing the dough. This helped him to stay in the Green or Happy Zone. Aarya said “Sweety, it (the dough) is sticky,” which lead her to the Yellow or Frustrated Zone. Sweety helped her to problem solve by adding more flour. When the play dough was less sticky this helped Aarya return to the Green or Happy Zone. Sometimes when are friends are in the Red or Angry Zone we use the dough to manipulate it to get frustrations out in hopes that it will help get the child back to the Green Zone.

Below is information that was gathered for you.
Benefits of Play Dough in the Early Years:
Enhances Fine Motor Skills When the children squishes, rolls, flattens, shapes, scores or cuts play dough, they develop and strengthen their hand muscles. The strengthened hand muscles help improve fine motor skills in children.

Improve Pre-writing skills. When the child plays with play dough, his/her pincer grip improves and this improved pincer helps in pre-writing skills.

Creativity and Imagination. Play dough provides children with unlimited possibilities of molding the dough into food, animals, decorations, flowers etc. Thereby, it encourages children to use imagination and inspires creativity. When children use various shapes, rolling pins and other tools while playing it further improves creativity.

Calming Effect. Sitting quietly in a place and squishing and squashing of play dough will have a very calming and soothing effect on children. It will also provide children a great opportunity to express their emotions.

Develops Hand-Eye coordination. Use of variety of shapes and rolling pins while playing with play dough will improve hand-eye coordination.

Social Skills. When children play with play dough along with peers in a small group they talk, discuss, problem solve to create great works of art and craft with play dough, thus this experience enhances social skills.

Increases Curiosity and Knowledge. When children mix two different coloured doughs together and discover a new colour or when they learn to mold into different shapes, it encourages curiosity and prompts to ask questions which would help increases knowledge and help overall development.

As you can see there are so many wonderful learning opportunities to this very simple activity. Please let us know if you would like the Play dough recipe. We would be glad to share it. 

Preschool child flattening their dough

Preschool child touching the sticky dough

Preschool child playing with dough

Preschool child manipulating play dough to make it round