Ah, Playdough and kids.
We’ve all been here, right?
Mixed colors being stuffed back into containers, texture hardening because it was left out from the night before, and little fingers forcing endless amounts of Playdough into the cracks of our kitchen table.
“Do we really want to take out the Playdough again?”
What is a childhood without Playdough?
In my opinion, it is the foundation of every young blooming mind. I am not here begging you to mix your colors. To each their own on that. But what I am asking you to do is to break out your playdough and consider integrating some everyday items into the mix.
Perhaps playdough needs a makeover.
Here’s how to use it to boost creativity.
RELATED: Did you know that playdough can also improve pencil grip? Just one more reason to play.
Expand your preschooler’s creativity by incorporating Loose Parts.
What are loose parts?
Loose parts were originally coined by British architect Simon Nicholson to describe open-ended materials that can be used and manipulated in different ways. (Nicholson 1971)
Loose parts will challenge creativity to think outside of the box.
“The process of unintellectual learning takes place through natural interaction with real things in the child’s environment. Loose parts are real things, ordinary things, ordinary objects, that when placed intentionally in infants’ and toddlers’ environment, support their cognitive growth through exciting discoveries” (Taken from, Loose Parts 2, Inspiring Play with Infants and Toddlers)
Loose parts do not have a specific function or purpose.
They are objects that do not have a button to push or preprogrammed intent. They also do not use batteries. If this sounds appealing to you, you should check out our favorite open-ended toys for all ages here.
Learning more about loose parts:
This setup is simple, and these three books have really helped me better understand how to incorporate items in my home for my children to explore.
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These are books to encourage play at home that I have read.
RELATED: Check out how we use loose parts in our ART CART.
Try adding these loose parts to your next playdough play!
Playdough can be made at home or bought! If you are looking to make your own, this Playdough recipe from A Crafty Living is great!
Random kitchen supplies
Funnels to imprint
Just like this playdough exploration, toddler activities are best when they are kept simple.
How this challenged my one-year-old:
I noticed as my youngest was trying to place the uncooked pasta into the dough, he had to change the direction of the pasta and position of his hand for it to stick.
This observation told me that he was improving his fine motor strength along with his hand-eye coordination and problem-solving.
Not all activities should be easy for your preschoolers.
Find the sweet spot that makes them think, along with feeling successful.
RELATED: Looking for activities for your one-year-old? Here is our “Under Two” tab to read more ideas!
Want even more creative playdough ideas?
Allow your toddler and preschooler to show you just how adaptable they are to playing with loose parts that do not have a specific preprogrammed function.
Here are ways to change up your playdough from some of my favorite blogger friends!
Playdough Pizzas by The Imagination Tree
Dinosaur Playdough Kit – Mama Papa Bubba
Unicorn Playdough Kit – Mama Papa Bubba
Scented Playdough – Hello, Wonderful
Lego Playdough House – Hello, Wonderful
Which playdough idea will you do first?