Therapy in a Minute: Do-a-dough!
This week’s activity is more of a preparatory activity – making play dough!
Why? Play dough is awesome for a number of reasons.
- Fine motor and visual motor skills, including scooping, measuring, and pouring.
- Vocabulary development, as the ingredients and measuring tools provide a vocabulary that may be unfamiliar.
- Following directions.
- Conversation and social skills.
- Sensory input.
- The future Therapy in a Minute activities that will utilize play dough as a medium!
- Play! Dough is a great tool for imaginative play, as well as educational play.
How to Do It
There are many recipes out there for making your own play dough, and we’ve created a Pinterest board just for play dough recipes, including no-cook methods, which are easier to prepare in classrooms and therapy rooms. Check them out!
How to Modify It
Before any activity, the supervising adult, whether therapist, teacher, classroom aide, or parent, should preview the chosen recipe and make sure they have all the materials needed. Also, the supervising adult should determine the child’s current level of ability and what level of challenge is just right for the student. The goal is to provide an experience that increases confidence and ability through a positive activity where the child can take a meaningful and active role.
Questions to think about –
- What is the child’s experience with this type of activity? Pre-teaching the vocabulary, or pre-viewing the activity on one of the recipe websites may help.
- Does the child have a history of sensory sensitivity or avoidance? Consider using gloves or a spoon/other utensil when preparing play dough, or providing additional deep pressure input prior to the activity, with clean towels nearby in case they are needed.
- What fine motor skills are mastered and what are developing? Practice scooping and measuring with rice or beans before measuring out the ingredients for play dough.
- How many directions at a time can your child process? Be mindful of this, and create your own script if necessary.
- Does the child benefit from visuals to support participation, or need extended wait time after giving each direction? Again, using the recipe photos from one of the blog recipes may serve as a quick and easy visual.
Other strategies to help ensure a positive experience: Make sure the child is able to take a break or step back from the activity as needed. Provide immediate, specific feedback as appropriate with emphasis on strengths and accomplishments. And remember, have fun!