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The Benefits of Play Dough

You may not realise that play dough is an incredible tool with a wide array of developmental, learning and sensory benefits for children. Its versatility makes it a staple in every classroom at DMW - right from our Nursery to our Preschoolers!

Developmental Benefits

Fine Motor Skills: Improves strength, dexterity and control.

Creativity: Play dough is open-ended and allows your child to let their imagination run wild!

Language & Literacy: Expand your child's vocabulary by asking them to explain what they are making and offering ideas.

Science & Maths: Comparing size, weight and shapes of play dough introduces key mathematical concepts during play.

Sensory Benefits of Play Dough

Proprioceptive Development: This refers to a child's awareness of their own body and control over their movements. Pressing cookie-cutters, using a rolling pin and manipulating different textures all contribute to your child's development in this area.

Sensorimotor: Play dough can act like a stress ball and has a calming effect on children. It's soothing to roll a ball of play dough in your hands and this works for kids, too!

Hand Strengthening: You can create soft play dough or make it more difficult to manipulate to really encourage those hand muscles to develop! All the actions of pressing, squishing, pulling, twisting and pushing builds the muscles in your child's hands, wrists and arms.

Tactile: Every element of play dough is about sensory exploration! Every play dough experience can be completely different depending on the items you use, the different textures, consistencies, colours and scents.

Our favourite play dough additions

  • Pinecones

  • Shells

  • Scissors

  • Cookie Cutters

  • Garlic Crusher

Easy DIY Play Dough Recipe

You will need:

  • 4 cups flour

  • 1/4 cup table salt

  • 1/2 cup cream of tartar

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1.5 cups boiling water


  1. Add salt and boiling water to a large bowl and mix until dissolved.

  2. Add cream of tartar, coconut oil and food colouring (optional), mix until combined.

  3. Gradually add 1/2 cup flour at a time for a smooth consistency.

  4. Knead until dough is cool. Wrap in glad wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks!

Bonus tip: Add an essential oil of your choice to make scented pay dough - we love using lavender and peppermint oil!

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