Today’s world is filled with endless distractions and entertainment opportunities for children. But there are specific activities that are vitally important for their development. Most parenting and early childhood development books will outline the need to ensure your little darling develops fine motor skills, which is the dexterity needed to use the smaller muscles in their finger, hands, wrists and toes. [i] Another important part of child development is the opportunity to imagine, which enhances the ability to think and understand the world, as well as express emotions. [ii]
Something that assists with both these imperative activities is play-dough. With the holidays fast approaching, this mouldable solution might just be the perfect educational cure for chilly and dull days. But a trip to the toy store isn’t necessary – if you have access to a microwave and a few standard pantry items, it’s easy to make your own.
Microwave play-dough recipe[iii]
1 Tblsp cooking oil
25 drops lemon juice, sieved
1 ½ tsp food colouring
1/3 cup fine salt
1 cup flour
1. In a microwave safe bowl, mix water, oil and food colouring.
2. Add lemon juice and stir before adding the salt.
3. Gradually add flour while stirring to prevent lumps.
4. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, remove bowl from microwave and stir. Repeat this process four times until the mixture is in a ball.
5. Allow it to stand for a few minutes to cool.
6. Remove from bowl and put the play-dough ball on a plate, covered in plastic wrap to cool completely.
7. Wrap cooled play dough in the plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Tracy Gordon, Head of Product Marketing for Digital Appliances at Samsung South Africa, says, “Using the Samsung HotBlast to make a quick and easy play-dough mixture for your children not only gives them a brilliantly educational tool, but also frees you up to prepare the evening meal. Because the HotBlast is so efficient, you’ll also have plenty of time to spend playing with your children as they let their imaginations run wild with their creations.”
Once your children are settled with their colourful balls of play-dough, encourage them to roll and pinch it to create figurines, blocks or even numbers and letters. All of this will encourage the precise movements required to build fine motor skills. The achievement of building something of their own design from scratch will also help build confidence and self-esteem. [iv]
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