Why do it?

Why do it? — He aha e mahi ai?

Playing with playdough is a great activity for tamariki because:

  • squeezing, rolling, poking and stretching playdough helps strengthen the fine muscles in the hands, the same ones used for writing, drawing and using tools like scissors and staplers
  • it is soothing and can help to relieve stress for both little and big people!
  • it provides a variety of ways for tamariki to be creative
  • making it is easy and inexpensive
  • playing alongside your tamaiti gives you lots of opportunities to enrich their language through asking open-ended questions and introducing them to new words.

How to do it

How to do it — Te tikanga mō tēnei mahi

Look at the recipe for playdough in the play ideas and activities(external link) in the 13–18 months section.

  • Encourage your tamaiti to help make the playdough with you.
  • Set up an area for the playdough that keeps the mess to one area that you’re okay with.
  • Maybe use a big sheet of paper, a plastic tablecloth or tray, an opened out cardboard box on the floor or on a table, or find a suitable area to do it outside.
  • Give your tamaiti guidelines that will work for you both. For example, ‘Playdough stays on this mat’ or ‘Ka noho ai te parāoa pokepoke i runga i tēnei whāriki’.
  • Look for some kitchen utensils you might introduce — a garlic press, potato masher, rolling pin, biscuit cutters or plastic cups for making circles. Let them explore the possibilities.
  • Use a few open-ended questions such as ‘What would you like to make?’ and ‘How could you do that?’
  • Follow your child’s lead — you could copy what they do.
  • If ideas are needed, you could ask, ‘What about making some kai for the toys? What would they like?’
  • When they’ve had enough but want to keep what they’ve made, you can store it in a container with a lid. Otherwise, squeeze it back into a lump and put it in a plastic bag (or container with a lid) and store it in the fridge for next time.

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
To fold
Rolling pin
Sea egg