How do you keep young kids learning through play at home?
We asked around and one toy kept coming up in mama conversations – Play-Doh. Play-Doh is a brand by Hasbro, a 96-year-old play and entertainment company, and often recognised as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies®. Trusted by parents (thanks to rigorous testing of this non-toxic modelling compound) and loved by kids for over 60 years, Play-Doh provides hours of fun for young kids, helps creativity, communication skills, fine motor skills and has even been recommended as one of the best toys to combat delayed motor development from too much screen time. “But it’s messy!” some mamas protest. Yes, Play-Doh can be messy (that’s one of the sensory experiences that we’ll get to later) – but we think the benefits of Play-Doh far outweigh a little mess. Plus we have some helpful hints on making an easy job of clearing any arts and crafts mess. Here’s all you need to know about Play-Doh!
Why do we love Play-Doh so?
1. Play-Doh Helps Develop Fine Motor Skills
Kids growing up in the digital age are exposed to screens for everything. Paediatric doctors have warned that young children at school are increasingly finding it hard to hold pencils due to an excessive use of technology! Playing with Play-Doh helps children strengthen their hand muscles to improve fine motor skills. When kids play with it, they roll it, twist it, knead it, flatten it, pinch it and shape it – and this gives them a lot of finger and palm exercise which builds muscle strength in their little hands. It also encourages kids to use both their left and right hands, activating the nerve endings in their fingers, which stimulates their left brain and right brain. Here in Singapore, the MOE recognises the importance of Play-Doh in helping kids strengthen fine motor skills which is important for learning to write as well as dressing oneself.
2. Play-Doh Boosts Social Skills and Communication
We tested out the new Play-Doh Kitchen Sets: Drizzy Ice-cream Playset ($29.90) with two willing testers – an 8-year-old and 5-year-old – and were blown away by the imaginative chatter that went on. Our mini testers had a blast making multi-coloured swirly ice-cream by pushing Play-Doh through the ice cream gadget into special cones. They loved discussing which sauces – chocolate or strawberry – to drizzle on before topping with “sprinkles”. It’s clear that Play-Doh sparks interaction and helps kids build social and communication skills. This kind of open-ended, creative play is a more engaging form of play than screen time (although screen certainly has its place, especially during #circuitbreaker!).
3. Play-Doh Develops Creative Thinking and Imagination
If you are stuck indoors, break out the Play-Doh and the kids will play happily for hours. Give the kids access to a few household items – a toy knife and cookie cutters, add in figurines and your kids can design a whole new landscape to play in. Our youngest tester is a big vehicle fan so gravitated to the new Play-Doh Wheels Cement Truck Mixer ($29.90). The set comes with three cans with stamps to make traffic cones plus a rolling wheelbarrow. The full spinning cement truck cranks out Play-Doh in fun twisty coils and sparks so much creativity and imaginative play.
4. Play-Doh Supports Sensory Play
Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain which encourages the development of motor skills, supports language development and encourages ‘scientific thinking’ and problem solving. The sensory nature of traditional Play-Doh allows kids to explore the world around them through play. If your child is restless and has difficulty expressing themselves, they may find peace through Play-Doh play. Handling and shaping Play-Doh is a sensory experience that has been said to have a very calming and soothing effect on small children. For older kids the five new compounds have different textures for a more diverse sensory play. Look out for a new version of Slime, plus Putty, Slime Foam, Slime Cloud, Slime Hydroglitz and Slime Krackle with the added sensory fun of crackle beads. These new products (available at Lazada from $2.90 to $9.90) are designed for kids ages 3+, but we recommend them for slightly older kids who can use the products responsibly.
5. Play-Doh is a Great Way to Teach
If your kids are doing home-based learning at the moment, they will probably have tasks set by their school or kindergarten. But how can you help bring academic concepts to life for your young child? Play-Doh offers a wonderful teaching opportunity that grabs the attention of small kids in a really hands-on way. Talk to your kids about about different shapes they can make, mixing colours and comparing sizes as they play.
Play-Doh Discount code
Sassy Mama Perk: If you are keen to get your hands on some Play-Doh or any of the play sets, you can get 20% off Play-Doh items on Lazada, until Sunday 10 May 2020. Use code HBXM20A (valid for Hasbro Flagship store on Lazada). Minimum spend is $30 (the 20% discount is capped at $15).
Arts and crafts is often messy by nature (hey, that’s why it’s so much fun for kids). While Play-Doh and Slime provide hours of fun you may be wary of letting the stuff out for fear of mess. But with these easy tips, clearing up will never put you off letting the kids play with Play-Doh again.
- Dedicate an area to Play-Doh play: Tell your kids that they must play on a set table/uncarpeted floor space (ideally with a mat to aid cleaning). Knowing where the Play-Doh will be makes it easier to clean up later.
- Dress your kids in old clothes and roll up sleeves. If you limit the exposure to any fabric (clothes, carpets, sofa) there will be less chance of mess. Do be careful as slime can stain and stick to fabric and is much harder to clean than Play-Doh.
- Clear up right after play: It may sound obvious but something always gets in the way of clearing up. Use one piece of Play-Doh to dab onto the Play-Doh you are trying to clean up. Scrape it out from any utensils used or take utensils to the sink to wash.
- Dry tough-to-clean spots: If Play-Doh has gotten where it shouldn’t, wait for it to dry. Applying hot water and soap will only cause it to melt into your carpet. Once it has dried you can easily scrape off to loosen and then vacuum or brush it off the material.