This homemade playdough is a perfect 15-minute enrichment activity to do at home when your children need a short break from their homework. There are many benefits of playdough, many of which have occupational therapy and art-based therapy components. These include enhancing fine motor skills, improving pre-writing skills, creativity and imagination, creating a calming effect, developing hand-eye coordination, building social skills, and increasing curiosity and knowledge. (Source here.)
Enhancing Fine Motor Skills
When your child squishes, rolls, flattens, shapes, etc. the playdough, he or she is developing and strengthening hand muscles, which improves their fine motor skills.
Improves Pre-Writing Skills
When your child plays with playdough and squeezes their pointer finger and thumb to shape an object, they are strengthening their pincer grip which is used to hold a pencil for writing.
Creativity and Imagination
Playdough provides endless opportunities for creativity by allowing your child to create an entirely new shape out of something, using their imagination. Adding in other tools or decorative pieces (like buttons, googley eyes, pipe cleaners, etc.) enhances this creativity even further.
Creating a Calming Effect
Being able to squish and smash playdough helps children express their emotions in a healthy way. This relieves tension for children who might struggle to feel calm.
Increases Curiosity and Knowledge
Whether you use Lauren's two-ingredient recipe or follow the traditional recipe that calls for flour, your child will learn basic principles of cooking, fractions, and following a guide. By mixing colors, they also learn about the color wheel. Encourage your child to discover new color combinations.
In the video below, our Family Services Coordinator Lauren Kelly details how to make playdough using household items! Here's how you make it:
1 cup shaving cream
1 cup cornstarch
Add shaving cream and cornstarch to a large mixing bowl and stir together with a spoon. Once the mixture is combined, knead with hands. You may need to add more shaving cream if the dough is crumbly, or more cornstarch if the dough is sticky. Once the dough is formed, separate into small mixing bowls depending on how many colors you want. Add food coloring to each bowl and mix with a fork. Dough can be stored in a plastic container or bag.
If you make some fun playdough creations at home, share it with us and tag us on Facebook at facebook.com/austinhatcherfoundation or Twitter and Instagram at @austinhatcherfo!