The Power of Playdough

By Madison Gwizdalski MS-CCC, SLP

Play-dough is an all-time favorite toy at Uplift Therapy Center. Curious about why this toy is a staple for our therapists? There are countless benefits to using playdough with your child!

  1. It helps to develop fine motor skills: using playdough targets hand strength, dexterity and control, which is necessary for later-developing skills such as cutting, using zippers, and buttoning.
  2. The sensory properties of playdough can be very calming for children: pushing, pulling, rolling, squeezing, and smashing playdough can provide regulatory input to calm children down, which in turn can increase attention span and learning.
  3. It encourages creative thinking: it’s almost impossible to list all the things you can make with playdough. You can create different animals, foods, clothing, people, and so much more. Add some tools and cookie cutters and the possibilities are endless.
  4. Playdough gives plenty of opportunities for socioemotional development: using playdough with peers encourages sharing and cooperative play.
  5. Sensory development: you can talk about different sensory properties of playdough and even change them yourselves. With homemade playdough you can add scents to discuss the smells, change the colors to discuss visual properties, and use different amounts of ingredients to make the tactile properties change. 
  6. Provides lots of language learning opportunities: you can work on SO many concepts with playdough. Practice following directions, using different verbs to describe what you’re doing (Roll! Smash! Cut!), or label different things that you are making!

Check out the following recipe for an easy and edible playdough to make at home!

PLAYDOUGH RECIPE

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 packet Kool-Aid
  • 2/3 cup water (you will end up using between ½ cup and 2/3 cup)
  • 1 TBS oil

Directions

  1. Mix flour, salt, and Kool-Aid together
  2. Boil the water
  3. Add the oil to the water
  4. Pour some water into dry ingredients and mix with a spoon
  5. Keep adding water and work the dough until the color is uniform and it feels like playdough
  6. Store in airtight container or plastic bag

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