Developing Hand Coordination with Playdough!

Hand coordination skills, sometimes called “fine motor skills” are the skills needed to do things like use spoons, pinch salt, and hold a pencil. Young children need lots of practice, especially between the ages of 3 months and 7 years old. Around 2 years old is when playing with playdough starts to have a big impact on children’s hand coordination skills.

Here are some ways you can encourage children of different ages to use playdough as a tool to develop their fine motor skills:

Encourage 2-3 year olds to try:
– Opening the Ziploc bag or jar where dough is stored on their own
– Snipping dough with safety scissors or plastic playdough scissors
– Generally shaping play dough with their hands, squishing it, smashing it, and pulling it
– Using tools like cookie cutters, spatulas, plastic straws, and pine cones to stamp and cut dough
– Roll dough into snakes
– Poke it using different fingers
Encourage 4-5 year olds to design detailed creations as they:
– Continue practicing their age 2-3 skills
– Practice using utensils like forks, knives, and spoons to poke, cut, and scoop
– Use tongs to squish and carry dough
– Use safety scissors to cut lines and shapes
– Build 3D animals, buildings, and other creations
– Build letters (especially letters to spell their names) by rolling dough into snakes and bending them into letter shapes
– Using a pencil to etch letters into flattened play dough “paper”
– Rolling dough into balls of the same and different sizes