Fun and learning with play-dough/clay
Play dough or clay can be a fun way to keep children occupied. There can be hours of countless fun when playing with playdough. It can get messy, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. They aid in the development of certain essential skills:
• Development of fine motor skills
While playing, children manipulate it in multiple ways by squeezing, pinching, shaping, re-shaping, poking. This builds their fine motor skills and finger dexterity. They use their arms, palms, and fingers while playing with clay and various tools. This further strengthens the muscles and motor skills. This is an asset for the child, as it improves their pre-writing skills (grasp of pencils)
• Builds the ability to solve problems
As a medium of play, clay helps children in looking at the three-dimensional aspects of the world. The malleable quality of clay helps the child develop the ability to adapt to change. Their problem-solving skills can thus be explored when the child gets to choose how far they can take the clay, to form a tall clay structure, before it cracks and falls.
• Imagination and creativity
It gives a creative outlet to the child to make different shapes, objects and figures as per their desire and interest. They can imagine and construct clay structures to engage in their imaginary world
• Learning new concepts
Children learn better through tactile mediums and clay can be a great way to teach them new concepts. Helping the child create numbers, alphabet, shapes with clay can make learning memorable as well as fun.
• Language development
As they make various objects and learn about them, their vocabulary widens. They are able to add new words to their repertoire. E.g. playing with clay of different colours can aid in recognition of colour names
When done with a group, children feel encouraged to perform, be open to new ideas, pay attention to other people’s work, and communicate during this process.
• Ability to follow instructions
The structured way of playing helps children understand and absorb meaningful information, follow the steps as instructed, and wait for their turn
• Boosts self-esteem
When children are appreciated for their efforts, it builds their self-confidence. The process of making something out of clay can be rewarding in itself, despite the output.