The malleable properties of play dough make it fun for investigation and exploration as well as secretly building up strength in all the tiny hand muscles and tendons, making them ready for pencil and scissor control later on.
Poking in objects and pulling them out of play dough strengthens hand muscles and co-ordination. As part of simple, tactile play it can be squashed, squeezed, rolled, flattened, chopped, cut, scored, raked, punctured, poked and shredded! Each one of these different actions aids fine motor development in a different way, not to mention hand-eye co ordination and general concentration. And as soon as you add another element to it, the list of benefits and creative play possibilities continues to grow!
Collect leaves from the yard
Roll or pat the play dough flat (you can also mix different colors of play-dosh together to make interesting fall colors)
Demonstrate to your child how to press the leaves into the play dough to make an imprint (you can use other objects to make different imprints - like lego blocks, plastic fork, toy car wheels etc.)
Save the prints as an art piece!
You can also encourage your child to cut the dough around the leaf impression and let it harden before he displays it in his room!
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.