The Benefits of Play Dough

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‘Before we ever put a pencil into a child’s hands, those hands should dig, climb, press, pull, squish, twist and pinch a wide variety of materials in as many different environments possible.’

The Benefits of Play Dough


I taught pre-school and junior primary school for a total of 40 years. That’s a few number of years in my book. It was exceptionally rewarding and looking back I do not regret a single day. The time I have spent with children, my own two precious children, those that I taught and now my beautiful grandchildren have provided me with the distinct ability to say one thing for sure. Play dough is MAGIC!

The MAGIC it ‘MAKES’ to name but a few.

Here are some of the benefits of play dough:

  • PEACE- quiet time is what everyone needs occasionally. 
  • CALM – it is like a squishy stress ball that can help ease tension, release excess energy, improves focus and ability to express emotions. 
  • AWARENESS – touch, sight, smell,
  • VERSATILITY – promotes playtime while developing skills.
  • SKILLS – creativity, communication, enhances hand-eye coordination, supports literacy and numeracy, promotes playtime.
  • SELF-BELIEF – I can do it.
  • INDEPENDENCE – playing on their own or cooperating with someone else.
  • SELF ESTEEM – which comes with independent play and the ability to believe in yourself.
  • IMAGINATION – the ability to process from thought to action to finally the child’s creation. 
  • CREATIVITY – the realization that a child can create anything they think of. Creating objects from scratch encourages children to stretch their imaginations and think in different directions.
  • LAUGHTER – all children love to laugh and that is a wonderful thing.
  • FINE MOTOR SKILLS – small and precise actions involving fingers and wrists.
  • FUN. FUN. FUN.

Now where will you find rewards like this using such a simple ingredient? Only in PLAY DOUGH.

Have you as an adult tried to play with a piece of play dough? I personally get great satisfaction when doing so.

The next time your little one is unhappy, miserable, bored, out of sorts or just needing something to play with give them a tub of play dough. Stand back and watch.

For some little ones, their first reaction will be ‘Yuk’. Guaranteed most will dive in and feel it.

Play dough has come a long way. This modelling clay was originally made as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s but was reborn as an educational toy in the 1950s. Playdough is the perfect creative substance for kiddies of all ages. It is non-toxic and reusable.

In my early years as a teacher all we knew; all the children knew was plasticine. The old hard variety. It was wonderful for the first day. Beautiful colours and it smelt…….…OK!

Second time around it was brown and THAT smells still lingers in the back of my mind today.

Now thinking back just a little further my first playdough was my dear granny’s biscuit dough. Little did I know that 70 years later we would ‘play’ with a lump of colored, beautiful smelling playdough that lasts for weeks. (Another big difference is that the first dough I played with, I ate, and it tasted divine!) I am sure your little ones today given a lump of biscuit dough will do exactly the same.

However, I definitely do not recommend eating the non-edible playdough, but should it be tasted, it is very salty, and most children will not try it again.

Please folks consider playdough the next time your little ones need some ‘MAGIC.’ It really works!

Play dough can be used on its own or in conjunction with many different bits and pieces. Its versatility is never ending.

Have I convinced you about the benefits of play dough?

Here are some play dough links to get you started:

  • The best play dough in the world recipe. Make in minutes – lasts for months!
  • Dinosaur dough with texture – for those running paleontologists!
  • Looking for a spring or autumn play dough activity. Here are ideas for a sensory table for both seasons…
  • No-cook dough – lasts just as long and super quick to make!
The Benefits of Play Dough
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