by contributing writer Tabitha
Sometimes I say “yes” to my kids even when I really, really don’t want to. One of those times is when they ask to play with Play Doh (or clay, or paints, or other messy art projects.) I dread the clean up. I dread the mess. I dread the colored bits ground into the rug or carpet. However, there is not one time that I have regretted saying “yes.”
Play Doh is something that has no boundaries, no age barriers, no gender specific roles, no rules. You have a lump of some colored gunk and you get to make something out of it. Does that faze anyone? No! And it shouldn’t, other than the millions of moms (not just me?) who don’t want to clean it up. But we do!
There are many benefits to Play Doh.
Helps Tactile Learners
The best way for tactile learners to learn is to get messy. They need to feel things in their hands for it really to take shape. Even if it’s rolling a snake while Mom is talking about colors, or smashing a ball into a cookie while overhearing an older brother talk about algebra. It’s mastering that power over a substance and making something new with your own hands!
Provides Down Time
Both students and teachers (moms) need down time. Who doesn’t love squishing things once in a while? Play doh (and some other materials) are great for playing with your kids. You can make a monster and chase around your child’s creation. You can laugh and giggle with your child(ren) as they make up elaborate stories around their creations, because…
Play Doh is an Ever Changing Medium
You don’t make something and then it sits there. A tower morphs into a ball which changes into a chair, which somehow becomes a snowman. And there’s a reason for every change. I love hearing all about it. My older kids, my younger kids, my middle kids, all of my kids can’t say no to playing with it and making new things.
Play Doh Sparks Creativity
The number one reason I have to say yes to a medium I really don’t like is this: it is one thing that always, always, always brings creativity into action. Sure, there are “sets” that you can use that only have a few outcomes, but even with those, it is always different. I can definitely see it as I’ve watched my kids grow with Play Doh.
From 16 to 3, boys and girls, everyone brings out their creative sides when you pull out the Play Doh, homemade or store bought, bright colored or plain. The stories told are different. The colors are different. The guy with the purple pants has a different adventure with the walking flower and the polka dot snake in the green mountains that sparkle. The monsters eat each other and somehow everyone is still friends. The end.
Once the floodgates to creativity are opened, it helps in all areas of our homeschool adventure. Reading is fun because it brings us new characters to make out of Play Doh. Math problems are even easier because we can think outside the box. Story ideas flow from the characters we’ve created on the table. Art is easier because we can both see and create new things.
A good day turns into a great one because “Mom let us play with Play Doh!”