10 BENEFITS OF PLAYING WITH CLAY DOUGH
As parents, we always want the best for our child – be it in food, clothes, toys or education. We never intend to compromise on any front to ensure that our little ones are able to explore their full potential and become the best version of themselves.
One of the most important aspects in toddlerhood is the toys the child plays with, and the environment they receive while engaging in activities. While there are many kinds of toys available in the market, sensory toys have gained popularity in the recent years among parents and caregivers all across the world. These toys are designed to stimulate multiple senses of a child – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. They are helpful to engage the child in a safe, open environment. One of the most notable sensory toys is clay dough (also referred to as playdough, modelling clay or Lattoo Dough), which is loved by children from early stages in their childhood. It is squishy, easily mouldable and has wonderful benefits for the child’s development.
Here are the top 10 benefits and reasons why all children should engage with sensory toys like playdough:
Development of Fine-Motor Skills
Moulding clay dough works wonders when it comes to developing a child’s fine motor skill. The simple acts of squishing, rolling, and flattening the clay dough help in building up strength in their tiny little hands. The little fingers and hands get involved while working and the larger muscle groups of arms, back, and shoulders get strengthened when rolling the dough.
Enhancement of Creativity and Imagination
Creativity as an attribute can help individuals excel at whatever they do and hence, its important to provide environment and material to foster creativity in kids early on. Clay dough offers versatility – it stimulates imagination and creativity. Simply observe the kids while enjoying the texture and doughy consistency, and the way they explore it. You will be amazed to know the hidden imaginative skills of your kid. Creating objects from scratch prompts the kids to test their imaginations and explore new and innovative ways of playing with dough. This gives them a sense of achievement and enhances their imagination through pretend play.
Playing with clay dough is a multi-sensory experience for kids. They get the chance to refine their senses as they touch the playdough, feel its weight and texture, smell it and see its colors and shapes. Be it the visual stimulation, or the touch & feel of the dough texture, or even its fragrance, they all appeal to their senses in a positive way. When multiple senses are involved in an activity, more neural connections are formed which leads to better brain development and longer retention power.
Reduction in Screen Time
Instead of letting your kids get glued to the TV/mobile screen for prolonged period, give them dough that encourages them to harness their own imagination, thus resulting in relatively lower exposure to the screen. It may appear to be messy when they engage with this play, however it helps children slow down, focus and concentrate on playing while using their senses.
Therapeutic, Calming, and Soothing
Young kids often face difficulty in regulating their emotions as they are still developing vocabulary and understanding the world. Playing with playdough can help ease tension, release excess energy, and improve focus, in the early developmental phase of a child. It is very relaxing and highly therapeutic. It can control restlessness and is a wonderful medium to reduce anxiety as well. To add on to this, clay dough has relaxing effects not just on kids but on grown-ups as well. Double bonus for the parents!
Maths and Vocabulary Development
As children play and explore with dough, they begin to understand early quantitative. concepts like ‘a little’, and ‘a lot’. They explore 2D and 3D shapes and start making estimates of weights, volumes, and sizes. Have you ever noticed how a child talks while playing with Lattoo Dough? They tell stories and describe processes while their hands and brains work on their creation. Lattoo Dough is a great sensory toy for the development of vocabulary and math skills.
Hand & Eye Coordination
While playing with playdough, children discover their dexterity and exercise hand and eye coordination. The act of pinching, rolling, flattening and cutting the clay helps the child to strengthen their hand muscles and focus on the act, at the same time. It also increases the child’s stamina for activities like drawing and coloring for extended periods.
A Medium to Encourage the Usage of Tools
Clay dough allows children to be messy, silly, and fun. Add some useful tools to this and you would marvel at the end product that comes out of it. Simple tools like a rolling pin, wooden knife, wooden stamp, bladeless scissors, dice etc. can work wonders with clay dough and they learn decision making by choosing the appropriate dough tools in the process of creation.
Development of Decision-Making Skills
Reshaping the dough helps children develop a sense of control and rectify their mistakes. They feel accomplished once they are done shaping their creativity. It also encourages the habit of trial and error among children.
- Open Ended Play that Boosts Self-Esteem Playing with dough is an open-ended activity for kids with endless opportunity to explore. The best thing about it is that they can’t be wrong. There are no complicated directions, and no specific rules of the game. Research also states that visualizing, planning and execution, with no restrictions, help children achieve a feeling of self-confidence and achievement.
Summing up, as parents, we need to encourage kids to cultivate creativity and develop their multi-sensory experiences. The benefits are, needless to say, endless and it is important to introduce your child to these sensory toys as early as possible.
How does play dough promote cognitive development?
Cognitive development is one of the major aspects of development. Playing with clay dough allows the child to interact with surrounding objects and make assessments and considerations based on the texture and volume of the clay.
Why is play dough good for sensory experience?
Along with visual stimulation, clay dough helps children to experience texture and scents. Since it is more about hands-on exploration, children learn to experiment with it while developing their fine and gross motor skills. It enables them to solve the problem in a way that is both fun and safe for all age groups.
What age is clay dough suitable for?
To play with clay dough, the perfect age is around 2 years. Because at this age, children are developmentally ready and they have outgrown the temptation to put everything in their mouths. However, parents should always supervise them as it remains a choking hazard.
Does playing with clay dough help with anxiety?
Playing with clay dough allows children to safely express their anger by pounding and smashing. It calms down anxiety and boredom in children as clay allows them to slow down and concentrate. It’s also a great activity to self-regulate.
What does non-toxic clay dough mean?
These are completely non-toxic, natural clay doughs for children. Both wet and dry ingredients are naturally plant-based. They are not harmful to the kids in any way.