The Benefits of Playing with Playdough

Hey Mommies! Playing with playdough may just seem like an easy way to entertain your kiddo, or it may seem like just a big mess that you don’t want to deal with. BUT, playing with playdough has quite a few benefits for your child.

1. Playing with playdough builds hand strength– Rolling, squishing, squeezing, pinching, pulling, tearing, and using cookie cutters, all help build hand and finger strength. Strong hands and fingers help your child develop better grasping patterns on writing utensils and helps develop the strength and coordination for cutting with scissors.

2. Playing with playdough stimulates the senses– Playdough is squishy, sticky, can be gritty, and a little smelly. All of these stimulate your child’s sensory system. This helps them learn to regulate their sensory system and better interact with sensory stimulation in their environment.

3. Playing with playdough promotes creative and imaginative play– With playdough, you can pretend to make food, pretend to eat food, make a sculpture, and so on. Playdough encourages your child to get creative and builds pretend play skills.

4. Making your own playdough helps develop direction following, sequencing, patience, color identification, and cooking skills– If you let your child help with making playdough, you can work on direction following such as “get a bowl and spoon.” You can work on sequencing such as “First we need to get the ingredients. Next we need to mix them. Then we need to cook it.” You can work on waiting skills such as waiting for the playdough to be ready or cool enough to touch. You can also work on colors by adding food coloring to the playdoh and even mixing 2 colors to make a new color.

So as you can see, there’s much more to playing with playdough than just a squishy mess! 🙂 Also, here are 11 Simple Playdough Activities you can do with your child to help build strength and fine motor!

By: Emily Bettis, MOT/L



Emily Bettis, MOT/L is a pediatric occupational therapist and mother. She has been working with children birth-5 since 2008 and has been a mother since 2013. Emily is the founder and author