For little ones, with BIG imaginations.™
5 Tips for Sensory Play

5 Tips for Sensory Play

two little girls playing with dough

If you have a young one, odds are that you know about ‘sensory play’. You’ve likely heard about how activities that stimulate your child’s senses, like their sense of touch, smell, and taste, are incredibly beneficial for their learning and development. But, what you might not know, is how to go about facilitating sensory play for your child!

We know it can be intimidating. Between perfectly curated sensory bins popping up online to the potential mess to clean up afterward, setting up sensory play can sometimes feel a little daunting.

However, it doesn’t have to be. Sensory play can be fun, easy, and dare we say... simple! Here are five tips to make sensory play easier and more enjoyable for you and your little one.

1. Get Inspired: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! There are lots of ideas and inspiration online from parents and educators who have led the way. Start simple with sensory play activities that only need a few supplies, and work your way up to more elaborate setups as you go. You can bookmark lists or pin ideas on Pinterest to make it even easier to quickly come up with your next sensory play activity.

Here are a few great resources to get you started:
• Simple 10 Min Sensory Activities
Sensory Bin Filler Ideas
Sensory Activities for Toddlers

2. Schedule It In: Life gets busy, so carving out a consistent time for designated sensory play is sometimes what it takes to make it a reality. Whether it’s designating Thursday night ‘Pizza & Play Night’ or having each Saturday morning marked for sensory activities, getting into a routine can be helpful in making sure your child regularly experiences all of the rich benefits of sensory play.

3. Play Along: Most sensory activities need some level of supervision, especially the ones involving small pieces and non-edible materials. But parents that go one step further, from supervision to co-play, can add to the overall developmental experience of their child. Sit with your little one while they’re playing and encourage their learning by asking open-ended questions or guiding them to create new things with the materials.

4. Make it Accessible: Sensory play doesn’t have to be for special occasions and it doesn’t have to require an elaborate set up. Keep a cabinet or ‘art cart’ stocked with simple sensory materials like play dough, pipe cleaners, putty, and bubble wrap so that your child can access (or ask for your help accessing) the materials when the mood strikes.

5. Make Clean Up Easy: For many parents, a big resistance to sensory play is the mess it creates, but there are a number of ways to reduce clean up time. When possible, set up the activity outside. This way, you’ll be less worried about sticky fingers on your furniture or stains on your countertops. Another helpful hack is putting an old shower curtain or tarp down under the activity that can be easily tied up (with all the mess inside it!) when playtime is done.

Sensory play can open up your child’s world as they explore and create with new sights, smells, and sensations. Keep in mind these five simple tips and you’ll be looking forward to playtime as much as your child.

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3 Intentional Ingredients in Our Dough

3 Intentional Ingredients in Our Dough

little girl playing with doughAt The Dough Parlour, we're proud to be transparent about our product ingredients. We strongly believe this transparency is a big part of why our customers choose our products over others... besides the insanely delicious smelling dough and beautiful pastel colours! 

Here are three of our ingredients we're particularly proud of:

1. Food-Grade Scents: 100% of the ingredients we use are premium and bakery-grade, with the exception of some of our Seasonal scents which are scented with organic essential oils.

2. Natural Preservative: We use salt as an all natural preservative in our dough at the small cost of shorter shelf life. Tip: Store in the fridge after opening to extend the dough's life.  

3. BPA Free Packaging: The Dough Parlour’s packaging is entirely BPA-free to ensure that the modeling dough inside stays soft and safe.

Want to learn more about what's in our dough? Check out this blog post that goes into more detail about our ingredients » 

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The Magic of Play Dough for Child Development

The Magic of Play Dough for Child Development

There are so many ways that play dough can be used to help children along their path of development. 

We connected with Gillian Holbrook, mom of three, preschool teacher, and the woman behind My Three Little Strawberries Blog and Instagram, to hear from an early years expert on how she’s using play dough to support her children and students physical and cognitive development.

Dough Parlour: Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Gillian Holbrook: Absolutely. I’m a mom of three girls – Isabella (4), Sophie (15), and Megan (16). I’ve worked as a preschool teacher for the past 20 years and early years education has always been my passion. I’ve been lucky to work in many different roles, including as a Montessori school teacher and the Early Years Officer for the UK Preschool Learning Alliance. Although, being a mom myself has probably taught me the most.

DP: What inspired you to start the @my_three_little_strawberries Instagram account and blog? And what’s your current vision or goal for it?

GH: I was inspired to start my Instagram account when I had Isabella and was at home much more often. I joined Instagram as I had a bit of spare time and then I began sharing some of the activities I was doing with the girls. I never imagined I would have even 100 followers, never mind almost 10,000!

I suppose having some followers gave me a bit of confidence to invest more time in building @my_three_little_strawberries. So I started sharing more and things naturally grew. I can’t imagine blogging about anything else – you really do have to have a genuine passion for these things.

I love getting messages from people when they’ve tried out an activity or a product I recommended and enjoyed it. I’m a bit like a child myself and truly love the activities and toys (maybe even more than the children sometimes!).

I don’t necessarily have a specific vision or long-term goal for the account – I just take it day by day really. I go with what the girls are interested in and what inspires me at the time. Maybe one day I would love to have my own toy shop selling all these wonderful products that excite me, but I don’t know if I’d want to let them go. I think truly my dream would be to win the lottery and open up the most magical, beautiful place for children to come and enjoy.

DP: You have a lot of great content on your Instagram profile and blog around sensory play. Can you share a few benefits of using play dough for sensory play?

GH: Where do I start? Play dough has so many benefits and I believe it’s so important for all children.

First, it’s fun! Children love to get messy, and to me, play dough is not too messy but just enough to provide that tactile sensory experience.

It’s so good for their development, from using those fine motor skills when they squash and squeeze it to developing muscles and tendons in their little hands for pencil and scissor control. You can even incorporate some math by rolling balls and counting them or cutting out shapes.

Play dough is also really great for concentration - children don’t even realize they’re doing it or how much they are learning, as it’s all done through play and fun.

I love using The Dough Parlour products because they add an extra sensory element to the experience with their amazing scents. I’ve tried a lot of play dough and Dough Parlour’s has got it just perfect. It's not too strong of a smell and it’s also the perfect texture so you can always cut out the best shapes.

DP: What are some examples of activities you’ve done with your children or students with play dough?

GH: Really, the best way to use play dough is to just let the children enjoy it, experiment with it, and use their imaginations. Giving them some tools and cutters is great for gross motor skills or you can even add in some nature by collecting shells, pebbles, or flowers to help them learn about the world around them.

We love to chop up the dough with a knife to develop hand and eye coordination or roll it out into letters to help with spelling and learning new words.

You can also turn it into a science activity by talking about how the play dough is made and why it changes consistency from a liquid to a soft dough.

Another type of activity that works quite well is using play dough to learn about other cultures and traditions. So for example, around Saint Patrick’s Day, you could use green dough to make shamrocks or rainbows, and talk to your children about Irish food and traditions.

I could go on and on about the benefits, but over the past year, when children’s environments and daily routines have been more uncertain because of the pandemic, I think one of its best uses has to be as a mindful activity to let children just relax, unwind, and create. They can squeeze it if they are feeling frustrated with the world or they can turn it into something magical like a rainbow or a unicorn.

DP: What suggestions do you have for teachers or parents looking to incorporate play dough into their playtime with young children?

GH: Most importantly – do it at their pace. Maybe have it available on a low shelf so they can access it when they’re in the mood or feeling creative.

It’s also a super activity to do when they get tired. Playing with the dough really is relaxing and I’ve found it really helps with calming my children down.

And lastly, and I know this is a hard one, but let them mix it up and watch how the colour changes, or try adding some rice to give it a new sensation. Bio Glitter is one of my favourite things to add for the visual experience. So don’t worry too much about things looking ‘perfect’, just let them create!

Featured image by My Three Little Strawberries 

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What’s In Our Dough?

What’s In Our Dough?

children's hands playing with pots of colourful dough on blue gingham table

With our super squishy texture and mouth-watering scents, it’s only natural to be curious about what’s really in our modeling dough. Great news - we’re sharing some secrets today! Here are the ingredients that make all of The Dough Parlour’s products 100% non-toxic and 100% vegan. 

Wheat Flour: The elasticity of our modeling dough comes from the gluten in the wheat flour that we use. We know satisfaction is measured on a squishy scale, so we kept that in mind when choosing the flour for our formula. Wheat flour plays an important role in giving our dough its beloved bouncy texture, and the deeper colour of the flour also helps make our pastel magic happen.

Sea Salt: As a natural antibacterial preservative, salt gives our modeling dough texture, and keeps it fresh enough to store on the shelf (tip: storing in the fridge will help extend the life of your dough once opened). Working with the other ingredients in our formula, sea salt adds extra body to our modeling dough.

Vegetable Oil: Just like baby oil keeps skin smooth, vegetable oil is the natural lubricant that we use to keep our modeling dough soft. It moistens all the ingredients and combines them into one happy mixture with a non-sticky texture that we know and love at The Dough Parlour.

Natural Food Extracts: With sensory play at the forefront of our philosophy, we focus on making The Dough Parlour's scented rainbow cheerful yet child-proof.

To achieve the wide range of scents for our modeling dough, we use only natural food extracts for fragrance to keep our ingredients 100% natural.

Premium Bakery-Grade Colouring: Our modeling dough gets its perfect pastel with the help of our wheat flour, but the star player is the premium bakery-grade colouring we use. 

And there you have it - The Dough Parlour’s all-vegan, and all-fun ingredient list! With our hand-picked ingredients for our hand-crafted modeling dough, your child is guaranteed to have a fun filled sensory experience every time, and you know exactly what's in their hands.

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Easter & Spring Card Printables

Easter & Spring Card Printables

Free Printable Easter Cards

There’s nothing more enjoyable for kids than gifting the ones they love with their very own art creations. Especially personalized ones that they can tuck inside an envelope and mail to that special person in their life.

Print out these adorable Spring-themed cards for your child(ren) and have them colour their hearts out. Help them write a special note to their Grandparents, Aunt or Uncle… or to you!

TIPS:

1. If you’ve got some cardstock handy, print them out on those, to make the card sturdier.

2. Add some glitter stickers, or any other sticker styles you’ve got lying around.

3. Spray the card with your child’s favourite perfume or cologne. Be sure to hold it 20-30cm away to avoid the card getting wet.

4. Use some non-toxic glue (in small amounts)

If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

 

Dough Parlour Inc.
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5 Tips for Making Homeschooling Fun with Play Dough

5 Tips for Making Homeschooling Fun with Play Dough

More and more parents are finding themselves educating their young ones at home these days. Whether it’s a personal decision to homeschool or mandated virtual learning, for many, the classroom has moved from the school to home almost overnight. 

We caught up with Tanya, mom of two, homeschooler extraordinaire, and the woman behind @you.are.my.sonshine (Instagram) to see what advice she has for other parents who are dusting off their teaching hat to educate their children from home.

Here’s what Tanya had to say about using play dough in the at-home classroom.

• Bring the lesson to life

stingray out of dough

When Tanya started to homeschool her boys last March, she quickly found that the best way to keep her boys excited to learn in a new environment was to structure their lessons around a unique theme for each week. The boys chose the theme, and she would have all of the worksheets, activities, and lessons revolve around the theme of the week and then would use dough from The Dough Parlour to bring the lessons to life. When the boys were learning about the ocean, Tanya set up play dough invitations which helped them to freely create creative sea creatures like flounders, stingrays, and comb jellies out of play dough. When the boys were learning about anatomy, they used the dough to create organs in the body, making shapes for the lungs, heart, and stomach. Tanya suggests using play dough, or other creative materials like paint, to move the lesson from a paper worksheet to something they can touch and feel; it not only encourages creativity, but is also a way for everyone to enjoy a calming sensory activity together.

little boy making flounder out of dough Jellyfish out of dough Two boys playing with dough to make organs for school Organs made of play dough

• Don’t stop at art class
Using dough doesn’t have to be reserved for art class or break time. There are so many ways to incorporate dough into different school subjects to keep your children engaged and focused while learning at home. Tanya shared with us that they will often use play dough balls for counting and easy addition and subtraction, and they also use dough to spell out new words they’re learning that week.

using dough on paper to create nature scenes Micha's butterfly made of dough

Art supplies for creating bird nests

• Preparation is key
Like anything in life, homeschooling tends to go smoother with a little bit of prep work. Tanya suggests looking on Pinterest beforehand to get inspiration for creative activities and then modifying them to be more age appropriate if necessary. Pinterest is filled with clever ideas for painting projects, play dough creations, and ways to make learning more fun for your kids. Tanya also shared that physically preparing the learning space has made all the difference in setting their school week up for success. She has an ‘art cart’ for each of her boys, right near their desk, equipped with sketchbooks, paint supplies, play dough, drawing materials, and loose parts. This way when inspiration strikes, the materials to create are never too far away.

• Take their lead
Kids have bright young minds, with tons of ideas of their own. Instead of mapping out every moment of the day, sometimes it’s a good idea to be flexible and follow your child’s lead. Tanya told us about the week the boys were learning about nature. They had done a lot of hikes and learned about different types of trees and birds, and the boys became quite fascinated by bird nests. Tanya worked off their ideas, tapping into the momentum of what was interesting to them, and followed her son’s suggestion to create bird nests of their own out of dough. They picked grass and sticks to add to the nests and even made little dough bird eggs to make it complete.

two boys creating birds nests from art supplies bird eggs made of dough micah's bird nest

• Create with them
Roll up your sleeves and create alongside your kids. Tanya suggests that it’s best if you’re truly part of the process; sitting with them, teaching them, and helping to expand their vocabulary. Get them talking about what they're creating and introduce them to new words related to their creation. She mentioned that Dough Parlour is great for this as the colours are bright and beautiful and the dough scents are so good it’s hard not to take a bite! When young ones see their parents having just as much fun, the enjoyment is reciprocated and they're also more likely to stay engaged in the activity for a longer period of time. If you’re looking for permission to have a little fun and play – consider this it!

For dough sets for your at-home classroom, shop our latest collections »

Dough Parlour Inc.
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How to Host a Virtual Birthday Party with Dough Parlour

How to Host a Virtual Birthday Party with Dough Parlour

two girls having a birthday party with Dough Parlour dough

Even though we might not be able to get together in-person to celebrate big life moments right now, there’s no reason we can’t celebrate virtually – and your child’s birthday is no exception!

We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help make hosting a virtual party as fun and special as it would be if you had it in person.

Planning

Pick a date - It’s a strange time, and for many of us, our schedules have never been more open. With the slow down of most extracurricular activities, know that you aren’t limited to hosting your virtual party on a weekend. If a Tuesday evening feels like the best fit for your family and guests, go for it!

• Send out invites - Don’t just send a calendar invite to parents with the attendance details. Make it special by designing an e-invite! Paperless Post, Minted, and Punchbowl are all great options for creating your e-invite for free or a small charge depending on your customizations.

• Order the dough - Play dough from the Dough Parlour provides an activity and party favour in one! We recommend ordering at least two different flavours for each guest, but if you’re looking for value, our gift pack sets of three or our party packs of 20 offer some great savings per dough pot. Place your order at least 10 days before your party to make sure you receive everything in time. You can have the dough delivered individually to each of your guests, or have them all shipped directly to you to handle the drop off yourself. If you are delivering the dough yourself, consider also including a snack or a cupcake that can be enjoyed during the party.

• Don’t forget decor - You certainly don’t need to decorate your whole house, but adding some balloons, streamers, or a birthday banner behind where the birthday boy or girl will be sitting will definitely help to level-up the festivities.

Hosting

• Have some ice breakers ready - Kids can get a little camera shy from time to time. Have some icebreaker questions ready for the beginning of the party to get children warmed up and talking. You could ask, “If you could be an animal which one would you be?” or “What’s your favourite thing about winter?”, and have the guests take turns sharing their answers.

• Bring on the dough challenges - Now for the main event! Have the children open up their dough pots and bring out their creativity with some fun creation challenges. For example, the challenges could be to ‘make something that lives in the ocean,’ ‘make one of your family members,’ or ‘make a bracelet.’ We suggest keeping challenges to three minutes to add a fun ‘against the clock’ element to the activity and to keep the party moving. Allow everyone to show their creation on screen after each challenge and say a few words about their masterpiece.

• Give thanks for gifts - If gifts have been sent or dropped off ahead of time, spend some time opening them and thanking guests. If you’d like to cut down on drop-offs at your house, you may want to see if your child would like to pick a charity to ask his or her friends to donate to in place of presents or encourage parents to send gift cards that can be used at a later time for activities or toys.

Birthday party decorations on table with Dough Parlour dough

Wrap Up

• Make a wish - Have a cupcake, donut, or your child’s favourite treat brought out with candles and ask everyone at the party to help you sing happy birthday.

• A big thanks – Thank all guests for coming and be sure to send any pictures (or screenshots) you snapped during the party to the parents – they’ll also cherish this strange and special time for their children.

And there you have it – it might take a little creativity, but hosting a virtual birthday party for your child may turn out to be one of their most memorable birthdays yet.

Dough Parlour Inc.
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Spring Colouring Fun!

Spring Colouring Fun!

5 Colouring Pages Filled with Spring Fun!

grandpa and child colouring

Spring showers bring May flowers... but rainy days can be tricky to fill so we designed some FREE Spring-inspired colouring pages to enjoy and to help! All of our graphics are designed in-house by our talented designer, Farhana.

We love colouring pages for a lot of reasons – it’s quick and easy to keep kids busy, mess-free, and helps to support fine motor skills and creativity – plus it’s fun for kids and adults alike, so grab some pencil crayons and join in!

P.S. Did you download our Summer colouring pages and Fall colouring pages yet?

If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

 

Dough Parlour Inc.
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Bake up some love this Valentine’s Day!

Bake up some love this Valentine’s Day!

Heart shaped sugar cookies decorated in green and pink

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s the season of love and compassion! What better way to express that love and appreciation for your family and loved ones than with some fresh baked cookies!

Baking can be a great way to bring the family together, especially if you get the kids involved! They’ll love watching and helping you mix the dough, and decorate the cookies when they’re done. Showing them that expressing themselves through doing something homemade and special for someone you care about is always a great lesson. While the cookies are baking and cooling, grab a tub of dough and let them pretend to bake more cookies to keep them occupied while they wait for their sweet treats to be ready!

These heart shaped cookies are very cute and help stir positive emotions with both the baker, and the cookie receiver! Use our classic cookie Dough Parlour Sugar Cookie Recipe and decorate the cookies in whatever colour icing you like, adding sprinkles for some extra sparkle!

What shapes will you bake with your family this Valentine’s Day?

Heart shaped sugar cookies decorated in green and pink beside tub of play dough

The Dough Parlour’s Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie Recipe
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (or use salted butter and only 1/2 tsp added salt)
• 1 cup of sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 tsp if using salted butter)

1. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl and beat until creamy.
2. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet until well combined.
5. Divide dough into two disks, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
TIP: To make cutting easier, pre-roll your dough before putting it into the fridge, just make sure you cover it well so it doesn’t dry out, and use parchment or a silicone baking mat to keep the two layers separate.
6. Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
7. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out one cookie dough to about 1/4″ thick. Add flour as needed.
8. Use our cutters to cut out shapes and transfer shapes to the baking sheet.
9. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until edges begin to golden.
10. Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet before frosting with your favourite frosting recipe!

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Reducing Anxiety in Children

Reducing Anxiety in Children

Activities for Calmer, Happier Children – Keep Calm and Parent On!

little girl stacking orange, purple and green dough balls on table with stuffed animals in the background

Let’s face it, the stress of today’s changing world not only has us adults dealing with heightened anxiety, but also our children. It’s true, children across the world have been real super stars in dealing with these uncertain, scary times that the COVID pandemic has brought, but it still has had its effect. It has been a monster-full of change for them to bear; changes in their parent’s schedules, and even the limited interaction with family and friends. While the beauty of children is that they always find a reason to smile, the uncertainties and inconsistency in relation to what they expect can cause them mild anxiety.

Being parents ourselves at The Dough Parlour, we worry about our children’s mental health too. Included in those worries is the need to restrict screen time, since it also contributes to aggravating their anxiety.

If you’re anything like us, then you must be exhausted thinking of new ways to keep your children busy! So, we decided to save others the extra work of brainstorming and made a list!

Inspired by Play Therapy we’ve put together some activities that help calm and reduce anxiety in children. Play is a powerful means for children to express their emotions and let us know how they are truly feeling despite not quite knowing how to express themselves in words.

Create a Space

little girl sitting at table playing

Consider clearing an area in your home, which allows a cluttered free “work space” for children to find a place of calm and consistency, as well as enjoy their play time.

Here are some calming activities, as well as Natalie’s picks showcasing some awesome products that will keep children happy and healthy (yes… and busy!).

• Colouring and Drawing
• Playing with dough
• Puzzles
• Wooden Blocks
• Stuffed Animals
• Finger Painting
• Board/Card Games – Candy Land, Go Fish, etc.

little boy playing with dough with stuffed animals in the backgorund

Natalie’s Calming Corner Picks

Dough Parlour’s Founder and Childhood Educator shares some of her favourite products to include in your pre-schoolers ‘calming corner’.

Jelly Cat – For a beautiful friend to play with, cuddle and hold tight – day and night (that wasn’t meant to rhyme, but a mom is a mom!)

Rock Blocks – A different, almost natural way to build. This toy offers building play without traditional blocks but rather play “rocks” that come in calming, relaxing colours.

Janod Puzzles – Dazzling cardboard puzzles, that come with a poster you can use to decorate your space. It’s also packaged in a cute carrying case. It’s easy to tuck away and bring out whenever your children are ready for some quiet play time.

Noodle & Boo – Bath time has its reputation to calm anyone down! These products make bath time a wholesome, soothing experience.

As the expression goes, “it takes a tribe to raise a child” and we’re certain that our creative Dough Parlour followers have tons of great ideas on what they do to help calm their children.

Share with us what you do to help alleviate anxiety in your children/child – tag us @DoughParlour. You never know who can benefit from your experience, including us! 

Dough Parlour Inc.
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Fall Colouring Fun

Fall Colouring Fun

6 Colouring Pages Filled with Fall Fun!

grandpa and child colouring

As we approach cozy, sweater Season and more time indoors for little ones, we thought we’d design some FREE Autumn-inspired colouring pages to enjoy and to help pass the time. All of our graphics are designed in-house by our talented designer, Farhana.

We love colouring pages for a lot of reasons – it’s quick and easy to keep kids busy, mess-free, and helps to support fine motor skills and creativity – plus it’s fun for kids and adults alike, so grab some pencil crayons and join in!

P.S. Did you download our Summer colouring pages yet?

If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

 

Dough Parlour Inc.
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Getting Little Hands Ready

Getting Little Hands Ready

The Development of Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

Play is essential part in the development of children’s cognitive abilities, as it is not simply the increase in brain matter, but also experiences that determines the rate in which your child’s development advances. Part of this development includes fine motor skills; the use of smaller muscles. Of course, the more these muscles are used, the stronger they will become and the better your child will develop their coordination. Building these finer motor skills will help children to do things such as button their shirt, tie their shoe laces, write, use scissors, spread butter on their toast etc. The more they use these skills, the stronger they’ll develop, and the faster children become independent (for parents that means a lighter load and not having to do everything, yay for independence!).

little hands playing with orange dough and wooden rolling pin

Fine motor skills tend to be difficult for young children because it requires the use of both sides of the brain. Some children do experience a harder time with this, often termed as a ‘delay’, however with practice they’ll get better (on their time). There are a number of ways your child can not only enjoy themselves but also continuously develop these skills, so that when they do start more complex tasks such writing, the process will be easier.

Activities that build these fine motor skills include playing with blocks, tracing shapes, finger painting, puzzles and so much more. Of course, playing with dough is on the top of this list! (especially for us)

Our dough sets are created to promote the development of multiple areas in your child – consider it ‘the mother of all activities’, that will work towards advancing the development of your child in a fun, simple way.

Here’s why it works so well:

Shape It & Squeeze It– Stress Relief

Many of us take for granted the inherit love of rolling dough into a ball and squishing it with all the gusto that can be mustered. It is oddly satisfying and keeps children busy for hours, regardless of what shape(s) they make their dough into.

little hand poking purple dough on imagination mat

The science behind this is the same as squeeze balls (the ones marketed to adults as a form of relieving stress). When a child squishes play dough it stimulates nerves in their hands that signals the part of the brain associated with emotions (limbic region), thus promoting feelings of relaxation and calm. It’s a simple, creative way to have that ‘down time’.

Roll It & Cut It- Focus & Coordination
little hands cutting green dough with cutter on white table

Fine motor skills take longer to develop because there is more than one task required for the brain to be able to complete the job it’s supposed to do; this requires focus. Alongside an increase in hand-eye coordination, playing with dough can also do just that, increase focus.

As many know, at The Dough Parlour we are all about those cutters! While play dough is ‘free form play’ that offers a wide range of creative options, the use of a rolling pin and cutters work to develop a child’s ability to focus and complete a slightly more complex task. This seemingly basic activity readies children for more difficult tasks in life, such as the most notable accomplishment in fine motor skills: the fist and pincer grip. This skill is apparent in a child when they are able to properly grasp a pencil and write with it.

Independent Play (mess-free, parent alone time!)

Psychologists advocate allowing children the space to play by themselves, as it builds creativity, confidence, calms them and readies them for when they go to school (a time when you are not around). Of course, this also offers parents some relief and a means of restoring their sanity – necessary for everyone’s well-being.

young boy playing with purple dough on table with wooden farm animal toys and trees

Many activities that promote the development of fine motor skills such as finger painting can be messy. Play dough is one of those activities that allow children to get right in there, without instructions or fixed responses, and doesn’t entail someone else having to “help” them play (nor clean up a disaster when they are done).  It is an easy and safe way to encourage independent play, while offering a wealth of exploration and imagination.

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