Making Tracks With Play Dough

Esther and William are very small for their age because of their prematurity.

They were quite late to walk and I worry about their gross and fine motor skills.

What should they be able to do at two and a half years old?

Gross Motor Skills

I think that Esther and William can do all of what is in the list below and so their gross motor skills are fine. The one thing that they cannot do is pedal as I cannot find trikes where their feet can reach the pedals!

Most two-and-a-half-year olds can:

Jump from the bottom step
Jump a distance of about 8 inches
Jump on a trampoline with 2 hands held
Begin to stand on one foot
Begin to ride a tricycle
Catch a large ball

Most three-year-olds can:

Run forward well
Jump in place with two feet together
Stand on one foot (with some support)
Walk on tiptoe
Kick a ball forward
Walk on tiptoes and stand on one foot for up to 5 seconds
Avoid obstacles in path
Catch an 8 inch ball
Climb and walk up stairs alternating feet

Fine Motor Skills

Esther and William have fine motor skills more like a two year old than a three year old. I do realise that they are not yet three!

They can do most of the things on the list below.

Most Two Year Olds can:

Build a tower of three small blocks
Put four rings on a stick
Place five pegs in a pegboard
Turn pages two or three at a time
Turn knobs
Throw a small ball
Paint with whole arm movement, shifting hands, making strokes
Build a tower with 4-6 blocks
Fold paper (randomly)
Imitate a circle when scribbling (not accurate)
Begin to use scissors and string beads
Use zippers
Open doors using knobs
Help with simple household tasks

I want to do what I can to help Esther and William find writing and drawing easy when the time comes. I want to help them develop their fine motor skills and one of the best ways of doing this is to use play dough.

Play dough is great for creative play and mastering skills. Play dough is fun and easy.

Making play dough is a quick and simple process that children can be involved with, making the material they need for their play.

Esther loves making play dough and she will play with it once made for ages. William enjoys play dough too but this most recent activity is the one that has grasped his interest the most. I think because I gave him a knife!

Knife Marks

We started this activity with a big ball of play dough each. We then pounded it and pinched it, rolled it and flattened it.

Esther and William love to make balls and sausages, snakes and coils with their dough.

All of these actions are great for exercising little hands, strengthening the muscles needed to develop those much needed fine motor skills.

After warming up our play dough we introduced some tools and accessories to spice up our play.

Tools and Accessories

I gave them both a rolling pin, a knife, a fork, an ice cube tray and some silicone cake cups.

They both enjoyed twisting their dough, stabbing it, slicing it, spiking it. They were chatting and laughing together as they played.

This was a language rich activity that both children loved.

William enjoyed spiking his dough with his fork and then sawing with his knife. He often goes out with Daddy to saw logs and so was copying this action.

Esther made little cakes that she spiked with a fork to make patterns.

She also enjoyed making marks with a spoon. I helped her to explore different patterns and was really pleased with how well she was able to copy and extend the patterns that I started.

Making Marks

Play dough is a great activity for quiet time. Esther and William get really absorbed in their dough play and they are learning so much through their play. They are also using all the muscles they will need for writing and drawing when the time comes.

I am looking forward to adding more toys, tools and ingredients to our play.

I hope you will continue to join us on our learning adventure.

What is your favourite thing to do with play dough?

4 thoughts on “Making Tracks With Play Dough

  1. we do love play doug as well. We find it really funny to do our play doug at home. My nearly 4 year old twins r practicing fine motor skills since they were really small and I can C the progress we’ve done. They do hold pencil properly and have no problems in their attempt to write. They also love drawing. So we r exaple of how developing fine motor skills help later on.

  2. I’ve just introduced Thomas to play dough and he loves it. I genuinely think it’s the only activity he sits still and concentrates on. I’m not the most inventive mummy when it comes to play but you give me great ideas to keep my little ones stimulated. I didn’t realise how good it was at helping them develop fine motor skills either. Very useful post thanks x

  3. We used play dough with Charlotte from a young age too – and without realising the developmental benefits! She prefers painting, gluing and cutting these days but still loves the play dough when she’s round at her grand parents. At the moment she is very into recreating tea parties, using the play dough in conjunction with her tea set. She makes cakes, pancakes, pizzas – and she loves recreating the whole birthday blowing out the candles scenario. At the moment I like to make vegetables, such as peas and carrots to counteract her cakes and pizzas!!!! She’ll pretend eat play dough peas but getting her to eat the real thing… grrrrr!!!! x

  4. My children quite like feeding it to the dog, along with chalk from the chalk board. She graciously accepts it and puts it in her bed. Unfortunately neither of mine really took to play dough, the odd occasion they asked to play with it, they enjoyed mixing the different coloured dough to make rainbow dough.

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