Today’s invitation in the Simple Play :: complex learning series is to try some play dough. Never made it before? Run out of ideas for something new? Here are my top ten play dough ideas ~ pick one and join the Simple Play challenge.
Simple play with play dough
Oh, this is perhaps my favourite day so far of the Simple Play :: complex learning series, because I just love play dough. It’s such a versatile material and so good for children, in so many ways.
You can offer so many simple play variations with play dough. Even with the same basic dough (which can keep for months if you wrap it well after each play time) you can ring the changes each time you play, just by having a range of loose parts on offer. Set play dough out with lids, drinking straws, shells, wooden blocks, buttons, pipe cleaners, stones, sticks, dry pasta, sequins, cake cases, cookies cutters…and you can spark a whole new, wonderful hour of creative play every time.
Complex learning with play dough
As your children play with dough, there are so many complex learning processes happening:
they’re discovering new textures, sights and smells, and learning a bit more about the world they live in
they’re exercising their fingers, hands and wrists ~ in preparation for holding pencils, writing, fastening shoes laces and buttons….
they’re developing their creative thinking, as they transform dough into animals, models, lands…
they’re using their imaginations as they use the dough to make play scenes or in role play
they’re stretching their knowledge of language as they meet new words like stretchy and squishy, as they make their play dough characters talk to one another, and as they narrate the story being their play
they’re introduced to lots of mathematics as they play, building with shapes and working with three dimensions
they’re winding down and powering up. Sensory play is a wonderful way to relax and free your mind for ingenuity and new ideas. Play dough is my go-to activity for handling difficult transitions, such as coming home from school, or winding down before bedtime.
Top ten play dough ideas
Ready to play? There are no rules about how you play with dough, but I would be thrilled if you take up the Simple Play challenge and give it a try today – and I bet your kids will love it! Here are some ideas that might spark an idea for you:
If you’ve never tried homemade before, use this easy play dough recipe – a step-by-step guide to making my favourite dough!
Add some puppets to tell a story with your play dough – try these printable sea creatures.
Try a salt dough recipe to make candle holders or a model.
Ready for a whole year of exploring through the senses? Super Sensory Invitations to Play is a delightful resource that encourages your children to explore the five senses through the year, using a wide variety of sensory materials. It includes 52 invitations to play, linked to the festivals and seasons of the year, and including water, ice, dough, rice, paints, sand, sensory tubs, and more.
They are easy, simple, and fun ideas that you can use right now to give a multi-sensory boost to your play and learning. It comes with a printable recipe book featuring all our favourite recipes for play. Come and see more here.