Advice Column, Child, Parenting


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From the start, kids are faced with the need to achieve. There are waiting lists to get into pre-school and from there, pressure to not only do your best, but rather ‘be the best’ throughout formal schooling.  This all leading to tough competition for the limited spots available at a university. To address this, ambitious parents, who want what’s best for their offspring, are investing huge amounts of time and money to ensure their child has every advantage. 

Raising victorious kids should not be about overloading or overstimulating your child. It’s about understanding the process of growth and development and the importance of driving creative thinking alongside problem solving, communication and collaboration.  These essential skills set the scene for them discovering the world in an innovative and non-prescriptive way and helps children navigate their immediate environment. Encouraging children not to quit when they don’t succeed and rather inspiring a spirit of perseverance is how we raise a generation of victorious kids.  It’s acknowledging that it’s the small wins that lead to eventual victory.

Play-Doh, the brand that continues to captivate the imaginations of children around the globe – provides smart parents with an affordable, fun resource designed to give kids the edge. 

At its core, Play-Doh is creativity – providing endless interactive play options. Guide your child to explore different shapes, forms and colours, which increases curiosity and knowledge while developing their fine motor skills and hand to eye coordination. Play-Doh allows children the flexibility to experiment and develop their own stories and leads to innovative, imaginative thinking and increased confidence down the line. Rolling, squishing, mixing, flattening and shaping is key to developing critical thinking skills and drives problem-solving and observation skills and much, much more. A combination of grasping and squelching helps develop hand muscle tone.  It’s also great for kids who are sensitive to textures. Playing with Play-Doh provides a calming and soothing activity – it eases tension and releases extra energy while improving focus and concentration.

Tip for parents: keep the creativity flowing by offering encouragement for open-ended activities, but don’t be prescriptive in telling your child what to do or make or critique their work. Instead encourage trial and trial experimentation versus trial and error. When it comes to young minds reality can be suspended so anything goes. Get started with the Play-Doh activities outlined below.

Play-Doh is offering tickets to an interactive excusive Play-Doh art jamming workshop in September. Between 24th June – 31st July, buy any Play-Doh product to the value of R120 or more from Toy Kingdom and receive an invitation for you and your child to attend an exclusive Play-Doh art jamming class (JHB and CT only – places are limited, terms and conditions apply). 

For more inspiration visit @PlayDohSouthAfrica on Facebook 

Play-Doh is available from Toy Kingdom, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Makro, and other major retailers. 

Get started with the Play-Doh activities below – designed by Una van Staden, early childhood development practitioner and owner of Pikanini Baby.

Play-Doh Colour Matching Caterpillar

  • Roll a few Play-Doh balls in different sizes and colours.
  • Contrast colours can be chosen to make the caterpillar more attractive.
  • Join the balls together by alternating between the colours. 
  • Roll very small balls for the eyes. 
  • A long mouth can be rolled into snake shape to complete the face. 
  • Toddlers will love placing coloured objects on the caterpillar in this colour matching and sorting activity. Any small coloured objects can be used, such as large buttons or dot stickers.  

Skill Match: rolling snakes by hand engages both the muscles in the hand and in the arm. Rolling a Play-Doh ball also involves using a different type of hand action and control called bilateral coordination. Using fingers as pincers to push the buttons into the Play-Doh caterpillar encourages development of fine motor, and specifically, pre-writing skills. 

Play-Doh Penguin 

  • Roll a Play-Doh ball and shape it into an oval for the body.
  • Roll two small cones, then flatten and shape for the feet. 
  • Roll two small Play-Doh balls for the eyes and place two smaller circles on top for the pupils.
  • Shape a flat oval for the tummy.
  • Roll a cone for the beak.
  • Roll two cones and flatten the shape for the wings.

Skills Match: manipulating Play-Doh helps to strengthen hand muscles and develop control over the fingers, which aids in hand-eye coordination. Squishing, squashing and pounding the Play-Doh also offers proprioceptive and tactile feedback. 

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