Play-doh is one of my all time favorite materials to use as an OT. It is extremely versatile, readily available and affordable. Almost all of my students love engaging with it. Not only is play-doh fun, but there are also so many therapeutic benefits! Here are my top 5 ideas for how to use play-doh in the classroom!
Build Social Interaction Skills
Play-doh brings students together! When I bring the play-doh out during choice time in the classroom, I typically have at least 3 students who independently come over and ask to play. The great thing about this is it gives me an amazing opportunity to work on important social interaction skills such as asking for help, waiting for a turn, sharing materials, problem solving and commenting on peer’s creations!
Practice Cutting Skills
Play-doh is a great way to practice beginning cutting skills such as snipping. Have students roll play-doh in to a snake and use scissors to snip pieces off. You can use regular scissors or even the plastic play-doh scissors when a student is just beginning to explore cutting!
Make Letters and Shapes
This is an awesome way to bring hands-on opportunities to academic lessons. Have students use play-doh to form the letter of the week or shape of the week. This multisensory experience is beneficial when students are first learning these concepts!
Encourage Pretend Play
Play-doh is fabulous for encouraging creativity and pretend play. You can make anything out of play-doh! There are so many sets available that give tools and play scheme ideas, such as the play-doh kitchen. However, even without a specific play set, it is very easy to be silly and playful with play-doh. Not only is this great for working on communication and language, it is awesome for increasing student engagement with therapy tasks!
Build Self Regulation Skills
Many of my students find tactile input very calming when they are overwhelmed, stressed or having trouble focusing. For some students, using play-doh during a break time or even during instructional time can help decrease stress and support self regulation across the day.
What are your favorite ways to use play-doh in the classroom? Drop a comment and let me know!