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Video:5 Learning Activities for Toddlers Using Play Dough

with Jonathon Stewart

There are lots of great activities for toddlers using play dough that will help them learn. Here, see ideas for different types of activities.See Transcript

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Transcript:5 Learning Activities for Toddlers Using Play Dough

Play Dough is sure fun to poke your hands into and make silly things. But, you may not realize that these different brightly colored lumps of clay-like material can be great for your toddler's brain. Here are some great ideas for learning activities that you can enjoy together and that help to introduce new concepts.

Information About Activities for Toddlers Using Play Dough

Developing fine motor skills is very important to a toddler's cognitive development, and there are two great Play Dough activities that can help. The first is a Play Dough treasure hunt. Finding things is exciting for your little ones, so what better way than to bury coins or other small objects like buttons inside a large lump of Play Dough. Your child will have so much fun uncovering this buried treasure and it will show them how to use their fingers or small tools to find it.

Activities for Toddlers Using Play Dough

The next learning activity that enhances fine motor skills is to use the Play Dough as a material to practice cutting with scissors.Becoming coordinated at a young age is tricky (not to mention that sometimes it doesn't get any better for adults). At this age, it's best to use Fiskar scissors, which are small and blunt and are considered safety scissors, so that children will not be as likely to hurt themselves. It's still best to constantly monitor them when working with scissors at this age. It's easy to cut through Play Dough because it doesn't need as much pressure to make the cut. This leaves more time for your little ones to practice their grip and opening and closing the scissors. If they still get frustrated with this type of material for cutting, simply remove the scissors and have them focus on building something fun with the Play Dough. Switching their attention is much easier and fun than when practicing with paper.

More Activities for Toddlers Using Play Dough

Another way to promote learning is to simply focus on shapes and colors. Identify and discuss the different colors they're playing with, and use cookie cutters to create different shapes, so you can teach them the difference between a circles and squares, triangles and rectangles.As toddlers become more advanced, you can combine both the colors and shapes, having them pick out the colored shape you are telling them to look for, such as a blue rectangle and a green circle.Older toddlers who may be familiar with their numbers and letters will enjoy making a certain quantity of objects based on a number you call out, such as five yellow balls. You can also create different letter shapes and see if they can guess the letter and maybe even form simple three-letter words.

Finally, just the act of having your child assist in making some Play Dough can be a great activity. This will give you a chance to teach them about measurements and following directions. Bisquick Play Dough is a great recipe to use for helping your toddler learn about their senses. Divide the dough into different bags and add a food flavoring like banana, cherry, or any other recognizable flavor along with a coordinating food coloring. You can also use different Kool-Aid flavors to add scent to your Play Dough. Be sure to chill this type of Play Dough in Ziploc bags so that it is then easier to work with. You can have your toddler sniff each bag and try to guess the scent. Then, it's fun to just play with it, using your cookie cutters and popsicle sticks. And, you might find that making Play Dough with your youngster is just an all-around great excuse to spend a little more time with your little person.

I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.
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