Whether store bought or homemade, the words "play dough" conjure up images of happy young children rolling, building and playing for hours. But have you ever thought of the benefits of play dough beyond keeping your children busy while you are engaged in some other household activity, such as cooking, cleaning or paying bills? A recent articlehighlights many of the ways play dough can help your child develop.
Personally, I have used store bought Play-Doh to work on language concepts, such as the verbs: roll, squish, cut, pound. I have also made play dough with children to work on sequencing goals; we talked about the various steps involved and took turns measuring ingredients into the mixing bowl and stirring. In addition, I have encouraged children working on articulation or speech sound production goals to make play dough tongues. Once made, the children "own" these tongues and are more open to watching tongue movement as I demonstrate tongue positions for basic sounds.
Play dough is easy to make. Combine the ingredients, mix and heat over the stove until you have a ball of dough. When it's cool enough to handle, roll out on a cutting board and you're ready to go. Have fun!
Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist based in Morristown, NJ, has helped hundreds of children improve their speech sound production and language skills. She founded Well Spoken Speech Therapy, LLC, in 2014 after spending 12 years providing therapy to children (K-5) in the New Jersey public school system. In private practice, her clients also include younger children and adolescents. In addition, she treats people of all ages who stutter or otherwise find it difficult to speak fluently—an area in which she has received extensive specialized training.