It is widely recognised that playing with dough helps to strengthen children’s hands. This can not only help build muscles in order to help with fine motor skills but it can, eventually, help with writing too.**All products used in this blog post are linked below**
With the benefits of this activity in mind, I set my three year old boy off on a play mission with dough. We used a few colours out of the ‘Pots of Coloured Dough’ pack (link below). The great thing about these is that they are soft, easy to use and they don’t stain! Each colour is also provided in its own air tight tub, so you don’t necessarily have to use all colours all at once. You can pick and choose.
So my boy chose red and yellow before setting off on a series of manipulation and creating with the dough.
After rolling the dough out flat and poking holes in it with his fingers, he used a wheel cutter to slice the dough into strips. I then helped him roll the strips into sausages to put into our dough guns. It took quite a lot of effort on his part to squeeze the dough through the gun, however, he persevered and just adored the results! I’d say that a little adult help is needed here if your child is very young, but allowing them to try themselves as much as they can will only help their hands strengthen in the long run.
It was only at the end that I stepped in for him and he then enjoyed ‘catching’ the dough as it came out through the shaped holes. These dough guns are brilliant for exploring dough in a different and original way. They come in a pack of 5 and each gun has a different shaped hole at the end, meaning that the dough comes out a different shape. Children can have so much fun trying the different variations.
After initially playing fairly randomly, my little boy decided that he wanted to make the dough into a man. Luckily, we already had some dough accessory sets at home, so he chose the eyes and a moustache from that. He starting by squishing the dough together to make a head, then carefully pushed the facial features in.
All in all throughout his play he rolled, poked, squashed, pushed, pulled and pinched whilst creating and experimenting. He loved it! It can be a bit of a challenge getting the dough out of the pot. Sometimes it needed a little bit of encouragement, however, this is a great problem solving skill and it all helps towards strengthening those fingers!
I would highly recommend Dough as an activity for children 3+ as, not only does it help eliminate boredom on rainy days or days at home, but it’s quick to set up, there’s little mess and the opportunities for play truly are endless! Not to mention the benefits of strengthening little hands and fingers through manipulation without even realising it! My 1.5 year old even wanted to get involved. However, a word of warning, adult supervision is always advised in such activities as Dough could easily be swallowed.
The products used in this post;
Pots of coloured dough (12 pack): http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/027-0327&ClassicView=1