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My Favorite Teaching Tool...

What is your favourite teaching tool?

  • Unifix/Counting Cubes

  • Craft/Popsicle Sticks

  • Playdough

  • Other

Hands down my absolute favourite tool to use for teaching my young children is... you guessed it!


There are so many reasons why but I will attempt to narrow them down for the sake of the length of this post. I would love to inspire you through these ideas to use playdough more, especially while your children are young (age 6 months to 8 years) but even beyond that.

So here are my Top 10 reasons why I believe PLAYDOUGH is the BEST teaching tool:


Give a child a ball of dough and see where it goes! It is truly amazing to sit back and watch a child's imagination soar as they create things with playdough. Some may struggle to think of something to make and others may know right away. However, the more time we give them for free play (where they can make whatever they want), the more they will engage in creative thinking, problem solving, connecting to life experiences, exploring and making brain connections, and so much more! Creativity is something that may be looked down upon in some school settings where tasks and tests must be the focus. But I have always found that a child who is allowed to grow their creativity is a child who will excel in other aspects of learning.

A fun activity idea: Give your child different colours of playdough and have them create their favourite animal or food.


When a children use all their senses to learn, they remember and understand more than if they just listen or just write or just see. A child can remember 90% of what they SEE, HEAR, SAY, DO. That means if you use playdough to learn a concept like counting objects (number sense) for example, they will make a number, see a number, feel the number, touch counters, smell the scent of the dough, and say the numbers out loud. (Photo and idea credit:

This can be applied to so many different areas of learning! (making alphabet letters, counting "apple" balls on a tree, adding and subtracting, making animal habitats or maps, and so much more!)

A fun activity idea: Use playdough "snakes" to form letters of your child's name.


What are Fine Motor Skills? A child uses his or her fine motor skills any time they use the small muscles of their hands. Activities would include: using pencils/crayons (writing), opening and closing clothes pegs, buttoning/zipping/buckling clothing, picking up small objects, playing with legos, using scissors, beading a necklace, eating with hands or cutlery, opening boxes, playing with toys... I think you get the picture. We use our fine motor skills for EVERYTHING! Sometimes in an effort to "advance" our child in learning we neglect to focus on these skills that affect every aspect of their lives (even school!). Then we find that a child in grade 3 or 4 finds writing very tiresome or struggles still to tie their shoes. We need to focus on fine motor skills especially when children are young (up to 2nd grade even). Playdough is my favourite tool to use for this. And guess what you can do so many different activities with it to strengthen those small hand muscles! Cut, roll, squish, pick up, stretch, create, and more!

A fun activity idea: Find some safe scissors, roll a playdough "snake" and then ask your child to cut off pieces of the snake using the scissors.


Learning (and life in general) can be overwhelming for children (even for adults). Teaching children to understand their (maybe very big) emotions and reactions to something hard is really an important skill for all of life. There are different methods we can use for sure. One of them is playdough. It's soft, squishy, even scented qualities give children something to focus their attention on, to calm down, and to take a brain break when life gets overwhelming (especially if you add just a bit of lavender essential oil to the dough).

A fun activity idea: Next time your child gets very anxious or struggles with frustration during school, give them a 15 min playdough break in a quiet corner of the house.


As a child uses different tools and adds other small objects to the playdough or puts different colours together they are using their eyes and hands to do so. This reinforces hand-eye coordination skills which develop as a child grows from baby to toddler to preschooler. Developing these skills will help them in every aspect of life (whenever they need to use their hands and eyes together to do a task). As they learn to shape the playdough, their hands are learning how to process that information and do something while their eyes observe and help their brain understand.

A fun activity idea: Give your child some playdough and beads, beans, or other small objects. Build a cake with the playdough and then ask your child to decorate it with the small objects.


As a child grows up, they need to learn to process sensory input (anything that stimulates their senses in their environment) - different textures, loud noises, bright colours, new tastes, different smells, etc. Playdough can help children begin to understand how to do that. It can add an understanding of texture and feeling. It can help calm a child. It can teach their brain to connect sensory input to things they already know. Children also need to learn a sense of personal space and limits as this will provide security for them and help with relationships around them. Some children need more help processing sensory input and may need more time with others to play with playdough.

A fun activity idea: Have different balls of scented playdough on the table. Ask your child to smell each one and guess what the smell is (orange, mint, vanilla, etc.)


As children play with playdough they often use both hands, and in doing so they are "crossing the midline." this is an important development necessary for their brains and a skill that is taught in school at early ages. Learning to use both hands for different tasks (crossing the midline) is important as a life skill so children can learn to dress themselves, participate in everyday activities, write well, use their bodies in various sports and exercises, etc).

A fun activity idea: Make 2 balls of different colours of playdough. Put them at either side of your child. Call out a colour and have your child pound that playdough with both fists or with one you call out (left or right).


As children play with playdough (especially with other children or with their parents) they learn important social skills like sharing, taking turns, and enjoying playing with other people around.

A fun activity idea: Have a "cooking" contest. Create a special meal out of playdough together and then cut and "eat" it as you talk about your day.


Because playdough is such a useful tool for so many different multi-sensory learning activities, it can be used in almost every subject in school. Even making playdough with a fun recipe can be a Science lesson. Teaching different life skills like using a fork or knife, cutting things, making something with another person, sharing tools, rolling dough for bread... can be so easily taught in a safe way using playdough.

A fun activity idea: Choose primary colours of playdough (red, yellow, blue) and mix each together to make secondary colours (orange, green, purple). Explore how colours are made.

10 - INSPIRES PLAY (better than screen time)

There is nothing more inspiring than seeing different colours of playdough and fun cutters and tools around. It is wonderful to watch children get to a table with playdough and immediately have a smile shine on their faces as they get excited about creating. And this type of play that has so many benefits (as we've seen above) is so much better than watching a screen for hours on end. No TV show can have all these benefits (no matter how educational and wonderfully made) because it can never engage so many of the senses.

A fun activity idea: Set up a challenge of NO SCREEN TIME for one day. Each time your child asks to watch a show, give them some playdough and fun tools (nothing fancy - just bowls, cutlery, different textured materials, beans, etc. will do).

So next time you're looking for something to keep your child happy, engaged, and learning, pick up some tubs of playdough (or make some together) and enjoy playing and exploring all these benefits with them. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

And if you need help with some inspiration visit our website and see what fun playdough kits we have for you and your child to enjoy!


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