Playdoh is a versatile toy that children of many ages can enjoy. It has a lot of motoric benefits (ask your OT) but it also brings amazing opportunities to develop language skills.
Below are some examples of language structures you can build while playing playdoh with your child
Develop concepts/ descriptive vocabulary
–Big/small, e.g. make big or small balls
–Colours e.g. name the colours of the playdoh you use or make a rainbow
–Long/short/ thick/thin e.g. make long and short; thick or thin snakes
–Shapes – make shapes or use cutters
-Full/empty – e.g. talk about whether the container is full of playdoh or is it empty
–Position words: put playdoh out of the box/in the box; put the toppings on the pizza/ hide some under the table; place cut up next to each other…don’t forget between, behind, in front of, on the side, in the middle etc.
– Time concepts: before, after, at the same times, when e.g. before you put the nose on the face, put the eyes; after, at the same time
-Joint attention: Playdoh is a great activity to focus on the same ‘project’ and add/modify what others have done.
–Take turns cutting/using the accessories
–Request what you need (Can I have…./ I want…..) and reject if you don’t want something (I don’t want…..)
–Emotions: Make happy, sad or angry faces and talk about why or when you feel like this
In learning literacy multisensory approach was shown to be beneficial, especially for struggling learners
-Shape the playdoh to form letters and say the sound they make, e.g. the letter B says b…b…b.
– Colour code the letters e.g. vowels (a,e,i,o,u) and consonants
-Sequence the letters to spell simple words.
Playing with playdoh, you can make each direction as simple or as complex as your child needs
It can be as simple as ‘’make a ball’’ and as complex as “Put red circle tomatoes on the pizza after you put the cut-up yellow cheese, then put short green sausages next to it”
Ask and answer questions
There are many different types of questions. You can ask the question and model different answers until your child can answer by himself. Then, you can encourage them to ask you some questions (you may need to give some examples)
- Yes/No: Do you want the red playdoh?
- What: What’s this? What are you doing?
- Where: Where is the….. (good when working on position words)
- When: When can we put the nose (good when working on before/after)
- Who: Who is going to make the longest snake?
- How: How to you make a snail?
- Why: Why did you put the reed ball in the middle?
- Can: Can I have some of your playdoh?