When you watch children play with dough, without any agenda of your own, you’ll be amazed. At past dough parties, parents would be in awe watching their kids play. We’ve heard a lot of “wow, he’s so into it” and “I’ve never seen her sit this long” in our day.
As a preschool teacher, our founder, Chelsea made fresh dough with her class every week, and so did all of her teacher friends. It’s a classroom staple because it’s easy to make (with or without your kids) and oh so versatile. Used on its own, with tools or loose parts, dough supports imagination, conversation and growth across developmental domains.
Speech and language. Playing with dough facilitates conversation as children narrate their work, problem solve and tell stories. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary, but most importantly, it’s a wonderful opportunity for you to listen. Play quietly, they’ll talk to you.
Cognitive skills. As children play and explore with dough, they begin to understand early quantitative concepts, like “a little” and “a lot.” They also begin to learn about geometric shapes, measurements, balance, etc.
Fine motor skills. All that squishing, mushing and rolling strengthens muscles and develops hand-eye coordination, critical for early writing and self-care, like getting dressed!
Self-regulation. Similar to the relieving effects that come from squeezing a stress ball, playing with dough is great for little ones to calm themselves down, release energy and express emotions. The sensory experience is grounding & can be very soothing. It’s the perfect way to unwind and reset.