Have you ever excitedly tried to introduce play dough to a little one for the first time, only to have them reject it or simply walk away? Disappointing, huh?
Don’t worry, your child likely won’t reject that magic dough forever! He just needs a gentle introduction. Once your older baby or toddler is past the mouthing stage (and I like to use home made play dough with this recipe just in case), try these simple tips for introducing him to the wonderful world of play dough.
1. Poke it. Demonstrate first and he’ll probably want to copy you. Once he finds out how funny it is, he might be hooked. Don’t forget the sound effects!
2. Pinch it. Most babies develop a basic pincer grasp by about nine or ten months of age. Show your munchkin how to pinch the play dough and then give him a tiny ball to pinch between thumb and index finger. You may see a smile spread across his face as he discovers his new found skill, along with the squishy sound effects you provide!
3. Hide it. Babies typically develop the basic concept of object permanence (knowing an object exists even when it’s been hidden) by about a year of age. This means they can have fun finding little balls of play dough after you’ve hidden them inside or under containers. Plastic eggs are perfect for hiding play dough balls, especially this time of year when they are available in pretty much every store. Place the pieces inside and watch your little one discover how to squeeze the egg until it pops open and a look of satisfaction comes across his face. He can do this one over and over and over again. Plus as an added bonus, opening eggs is great for working on bilateral skills (coordinating two hands together), hand-eye coordination, and fine motor strength.
However you decide to introduce play dough to your baby or toddler, just make sure it’s safe, supervised, and at a “just right” pace without pushing too fast. Enjoy!
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