Using PLAY DOUGH To Grow

Today’s blog is focused on Play dough! Play dough is a versatile and fun play-based activity that can target goals ranging from sensory difficulties, language development and imaginative play. Have a look at how play dough can support your child’s communication skills:


  • Repeat names of colors and shapes throughout play to reinforce common vocabulary - alphabet shape cutters can be added too to work on letter recognition!
  • Encourage your child to ask for their preferred colors and shapes to reinforce vocabulary.

Expressive language

  • Encourage your child to talk about what they are doing, making, or relating the activity to their daily life. You can use prompting questions such as ‘You’re making a fish! Have you ever seen a fish?’, ‘How did you make that house?’
  • For children still developing their words, model actions words as you play, such as ‘squish squish’, ‘roll roll roll’, ‘cut cut cut’.

Understanding language

  • Work on following direction skills by asking the child to pass you items from across the table during play (e.g., can you give me the square and rolling pin). Increase the length of instructions as they become more proficient.
  • Develop understanding of concepts by asking questions or modelling language using size (e.g., are you making a big fish or a small fish?) or location concepts (e.g., should I put the triangle on top or under the house?)


  • Use alphabet shape cutters to spell or read words, these can be ‘silly’ pretend words too!
  • Read a play dough recipe together to find out how to make your own play dough

Social skills

  • Encourage sharing and turn taking with play dough utensils (e.g., have only one rolling pin on the table)
  • Model appropriate waiting strategies (e.g., “I can see X is using the rolling pin, I can wait” or “I can use something else while I wait”)
  • Model asking for items nicely
  • Set rules before playing (e.g., no mixing colors, ask before taking from someone else)

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