The Nest Nursery’s first blog – Play Dough

Welcome to the Nest Nursery’s Blog. We will be posting about a variety of topics which we hope you will find informative!

So, let’s get started with…………………..Play Dough

The play dough station at nursery is always a hive of activity with the children engrossed in whatever it is they may be making, but do you know that there are many benefits of letting children get creative with play dough?

Have you ever really watched how your child interacts with play dough? They love to roll it out flat or into balls, squeeze it through their fingers or squash it with their hands, not to mention using things like cookie cutters and rolling pins, actions which help build strength in their hands which they will need when it comes to writing at a later stage (fine motor skills), alongside this hand-eye co-ordination is also being developed.

Then there is the imagination which comes to life, play dough can be an activity in which children become completely absorbed, one day they might be making pizza’s and cakes and the next day it could be trees and flowers. At the same time if several children are being creative at the play dough station then communication and social skills are being developed as they talk about what they are making – it is truly fascinating to be a quiet observer of these activities, but also creates an opportunity to discuss any issues that may arise with their creation giving an opportunity to problem solve as well.

For parents one of the best things about play dough is that you can make it yourself (recipe below), and there are lots of objects you can use to make many different creations. Try using leaves or herbs from your garden (pine cones, sticks, feathers – the garden has an endless supply of objects to use with play dough); spices from your kitchen; food colourings or essential oils; buttons and straws, lolly sticks, pebbles and shells from the beach – using play dough can be an all-round sensory experience for you and your child.

Non-cook Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 drops liquid food colouring

Method:

  • STEP 1   Combine plain flour and salt.
  • STEP 2   Add water, food colouring and oil. Mix until ingredients are combined.
  • STEP 3   Knead well.
  • STEP 4   If consistency is too wet add a little plain flour.

You can either play with your dough straight away or leave it in the fridge to cool a little bit.

You can add any coloured food colouring to your playdough but you could also add glitter to make it sparkle, a drop or two of essential oils such a lavender to make it fragranced or grains of rice for texture. Have fun experimenting with different additions.

Remember that this is for playing with not eating as there is a LOT of salt in the recipe! Also, be aware that essential oils are strong so only a tiny amount should be used.

Have fun creating at home!!

Playdough image 2