Motor development whilst playing with dough
Children love making and using play dough. Working with dough can develop both gross and fine motor dexterity which are essential for children to develop as mark makers and eventually writers. A motor skill is simply an action that involves your child using their muscles. A gross motor skill is a larger movement using larger muscles and can be developed by encouraging children to stand and knead dough on a child height table. A fine motor skill is a smaller movement using smaller muscles and can be developed by providing children with a variety of tools to use whilst playing with dough. Everyday tools such as a rolling pins, pastry cutters, and a garlic press found in the kitchen are ideal. Using dough also gives many opportunities for introducing a range of language such as pinching, squeezing, rolling.
Many early years settings now run dough gym/disco sessions where every child in the group manipulates a ball of dough whilst following simple instructions to lively music. This is a fun and informal way to help young children develop their motor skills.