Homemade Playdough – A great unplugged activity for older boys, too!

homemade playdough - a great unplugged activity for older boys, too!

Over Thanksgiving Break we rediscovered homemade playdough, one of our favorite unplugged activities.  My boys have been in love with playdough since they were little and I wondered if it could still peak their interest. 

A good recipe

I was very excited, I must say, when my boys got excited about making a new batch of playdough.  We had not made some for over a year or more and I thought they might have outgrown it.  They helped with this super easy recipe(I tripled it), They picked blue and green food coloring to make a nice watery blue.

They started playing immediately–its so warm right out of the bowl and feels so good to just squish.  We added several drops of lavender essential oil to make it smell nice(and perhaps calm them down even more!)

The benefits of PLAYdough

For toddlers, the benefits of playdough may be more obvious.  It’s engaging, creative, and helps build physical strength. playdough exercises the hand, preparing kids for writing, Playdoh encourages pretend play and can even improve verbal skills as kids often become chatter boxes while they are engaged in free play.

But My Kids Are Older

If I can glean anything from watching my boys play with playdough, it is that the benefits for older kids are still present. Any screen free activity that keeps them happily engaged for a good hour and a half. is top notch in my book.

Their play is a little different now-their buildings are more sophisticated, their plans more grand.  The dough is rolled out and cut into individual bricks or logs to create structures.  Roads are added and small cities come to life.  They extend their play by building lego vehicles to carry the bricks or demo the buildings when they are finished.

They get completely engrossed and just PLAY.

homemade playdough - a great unplugged activity for older boys, too!

The big idea here is PLAY.

My boys are PLAYING-something that seems to be happening less and less in our structured, busy world. Unstructured play is vitally important to our children’s development. Play is needed for healthy brain development which continues until we are in our 20’s.  Play develops self-control and self discipline.

Play reduces stress and can be almost a meditative practice. Something that can keep my boys happy and engaged for so long has to be beneficial.  And its not a screen.  There is no fighting. My boys talk with each other and share ideas.

For my boys, the benefits of play dough are still numerous.  On a very basic level, they enjoy the tactile, sensory quality of it.  It feels good in their hands. Their play is slow.  My boys create as they go, grabbing tools from the kitchen as they see fit-a garlic press, a knife, a potato masher. Sometimes we listen to audio stories as they play.

Making homemade playdoh is so incredibly easy and something everyone in the family can enjoy.  Please share a good recipe or play dough idea in the comments!