5 Ways to Play with Dough
Dough is the ultimate open-ended play item; versatile, timeless, sensory-rich, and engaging at every age. Whether making it yourself or using one of our amazing brands, Dough holds endless possibilities for play.
When introducing new dough to your child, allow them ample time to feel, manipulate, and experiment with the material on its own before adding other elements to the play space. Ask questions: How does it feel on your fingers? What did you do to create that shape? Tell me about what you’re making. When (and if) they are ready to take it a step further, enrich the experience by trying out one of the ideas below.
No.1 - Nature Prints
Go for a walk! Along the way encourage your child to collect leaves, pine cones, and other natural items that they notice. When you return home, use the found materials and objects to create prints. Start by flattening out a section of dough (allow your child to do so using their preferred technique), then gently press the object into it. After a few seconds, remove the item slowly to reveal the imprint beneath. Save your creation by setting the dough aside to dry, or roll it up and start again!
No. 2 - Popsicle Sticks
Introduce popsicle sticks into the play space to encourage building and construction. Budding architects and engineers will love experimenting with the ways the sticks can be attached, balanced, and layered using dough as an adhesive. How could you connect two different sticks together? Do you think you can create a fence? A bridge? A tower?
No. 3 - Bury and Recover
Try hide-and-seek dough style. Collect small items from around your house (think buttons, marbles, toy animals) and take an inventory of how many you have and exactly what they are. Have your child close their eyes while you bury the items inside a large chunk of dough, and then encourage them to search. As they work, keep track together of what’s been found and what’s still missing. When everything’s accounted for, switch roles! Take it a step further by setting up a timer and tracking how long it takes to find every item. Can you get faster each turn?
No. 4 - Dough Kitchen
Head to the kitchen with your child and collect tools and objects that seem intriguing (strainer? Cookie cutter? Lemon squeezer?). Bring them back to the play space and experiment! How can you manipulate the dough in new ways? Do some items work better than others? Children will enjoy the tactical experience of each new object, and feel empowered by the opportunity to use “adult” tools.
No. 5 - Play DOUGH Pictionary
Gather the whole family for this dough experience. Come up with categories like "animals" or "food" and write down as many examples for each as you can onto slips of paper. Collect the slips in a bowl (no peeking!) and have each player select a dough color to create with. When you are ready to begin, select a family member to go first. He or she will select a slip of paper and do their best to mold the dough into what is written while the rest of the family guesses!
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