Around 18 months is a good time to introduce play dough. Toddlers love squeezing, patting and poking the soft material in their hands, exploring texture and consistency. Talk about how the play dough feels. It might be sticky, gooey, slimy, wet or warm. Talk about what you are making – shape, size, colour, number. Use descriptive language – “that’s a long, fat snake!” or “let’s make a big, flat pizza!” If your child likes to eat the dough – be sure to make an edible dough.
Did you know?
- Play dough cutters will help strengthen your child’s hand muscles. Play dough rollers will help develop hand-eye coordination. Cutting, squeezing and rolling will all help develop fine motor skills. Have some different modeling tools for your toddler to use, such as plastic knives and forks, plastic scissors, a rolling pin, potato masher or garlic press, and cookie cutters.
- Playing with play dough sparks creativity. Give your toddler their own portion of dough and encourage them to make their own creations. Remember that the “doing” is more important than the final product.
- Play dough keeps toddlers busy and stretches their attention spans. Try hiding “treasures” in the dough for them to find. They may also enjoy pushing Popsicle sticks, drinking straws, birthday candles, or bottle caps into the dough.
- Squeezing play dough helps develop skills needed for tying shoes and buttoning clothes. Make different sorts of play dough – try different colours, textures and scents.
Your Toddler will find playing with dough to be great fun!