Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Squishy fun and fine motor skills

 Today we started our activities by making a collage of the photos we took yesterday on our 'Bear Hunt' and Ollie also drew a picture of the bear in his cave.  Ollie then asked for the play dough, so we had great fun rolling it, squishing it, marking it with glue spreaders and cutting it with play scissors and cookie cutters.  Ollie finds it tricky to cut paper with the blunt play scissors so gets a lot of satisfaction from being able to achieve good cutting with the dough.  Play dough is easy to make (a quick web search will provide recipes, including gluten-free ones using cornflour) and is a fantastic way of developing your little one's fine motor skills and hand strength.
If you want to increase the sensory experience then adding food flavourings can add an exciting scent dimension.  Scented dough is available to buy, but making your own is really cheap.  You can even tailor the scent to the time of day.  I use zingy scents like lemon in the morning, and calmer ones such as a couple of drops of lavender for evening play (lavender essential oil is generally safe for children, but I really mean a couple of drops - any more is a stimulant not a relaxant!).  Dough play is fantastic for all young kids, but can be especially good as an occupational therapy if you've got a really stressed child on your hands, for example if you have an ASD or ADHD child in your family and you want a fast way to redirect their energy and improve their emotional state, sitting down with them to play with a relaxing scented dough could be very helpful.  One word of warning though - you may get a bit too involved and get frustrated yourself when your little one has more fun destroying your creations than making his own :)