At this stage children enjoy socializing and imaginary play, based on real life situations. Children make things and name them. They pretend to bake and love to get involved in making the play dough.
Children at this age are often getting involved in small groups and building friendships, developing relationships and communication skills. The start to think about what they are doing and why. They develop their imagination and concentration skills often staying in one place for longer.
Adults role in play
Encourage discussion linking what they are doing to what they have seen happening at home
Help your child move through the social stages by taking turns with the utensils. Encourage your child to be creative, talk about what is happening in family life, what you saw on your walk to the shops.
Remember children do not always need utensils, just give them play dough and see what they do.
The older your child gets the more they can share out the play dough, organise their own play. Make play dough with more accuracy, measuring, poring and mixing. Practice using scissors (plastic scissors are great with play dough- great way to start developing control)
Playing with play dough, children gain a sense of control. They learn pre maths skills e.g. Counting, Calculating and concepts, such as weight, more or less volume.
You can extend play creatively by providing natural resources eg. Leaves, shells, bark, stones and utensils found in the kitchen eg. Meat tenderiser or a garlic press.
Make links to real cooking, talk about recipes and ingredients and what happens when things are cooked....