Thursday, January 14, 2010


Sometimes in the winter parents can have a hard time thinking of fun and creative activities for their toddlers to do.  One great idea is to get out the playdough.  Playdough is a wonderful sensory activity for toddlers. Not only is it educational and helps toddlers develop fine motor skills but toddlers love playing with it. Your toddler will love to squish, squash, and squeeze the dough.

You can just drive to the store and buy some play dough there, or you can make homemade playdough with common household ingredients. I know it sounds like a big hassle, but I promise it is about as easy as boiling water! Also store bought play dough can be expensive, it has chemicals and additives in it (and lets face it your toddler is bound to put it in his/her mouth!), it can stain, it is very hard to get out of clothing/carpet, and it has a lot of coloring in it that can irritate your toddler's skin. Not to mention the fact that it stinks!

Homemade playdough on the other hand is non-toxic, affordable, easy to use, you can add color, and homemade playdough is softer and easier for you toddler to manipulate. One of the best things about homemade playdough is that it easily vacuums out of carpet once it is dry.  To watch a video on how to make homemade playdough click here.

Homemade Playdough Recipe:
One cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 T. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 T. vegetable oil
20 drops food coloring

Mix dry ingredients.  Then mix together wet ingredients in a large sauce pan.  Add the dry ingredients, then cook on medium heat, stirring consistantly.  Continue stirring until dough starts to form a ball and is stiff.  Then turn dough out on a floured surface and knead.  Be careful because the dough will be hot.  

Since toddlers love to touch and feel, playdough is a wonderful sensory activity for them. You can also change things up once in a while and add different textures to the dough such as; sand, un-cooked rice, macaroni noodles, or pretty much anything you can think of.  Another fun idea is to add good scents, such as peppermint, orange, or almond extract to the dough which will add to the sensory development of the activity.  Plus since homemade dough is non-toxic even if your toddler tries to eat the dough since it smells yummy he/she will quickly learn that it doesn't taste as good as it smells.

Another benefit of play dough is that experts say that kids work their stress out through their hands. So being able to manipulate and sqeeze the dough should help your toddler to relieve some stress. Therefore this is a good activity before a nap or bedtime.

There are tons of different ways that you can play with playdough. You can roll the dough out, then get out the cookie cutters and make all kinds of shapes, and then help your toddler identify the different shapes.

Another fun idea is to get out some toy figurines and let your child stick the figurines in the playdough so that they will stand up.

You also can put playdough in a syringe and let your toddler squeeze it out.

There are a million different things to do with playdough, so get creative!  Your todderler will have a blast!

After you are done playing put the playdough in an airtight container or in a large ziplock bag and store for another time.  

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