Recently, Play Doh Brand Modeling Compounds released a new series of play doh called the Shape and Learn kits. There are currently six sets out including the Letters and Language, Shape a Story, Make and Measure, Colors and Shapes, Numbers and Counting, and Textures and Tools sets. These kits are intended to help younger audiences, ages two to six, with hands on discovery and building key foundational skills.
One of the sets is the Letters and Language set. In this kit there are six cans of play doh modeling compound in various colors (red, blue, green, yellow, orange and purple) as well as a stylus, rolling pin, two double sided play mats and twenty six letter stamps. This kit encourages toddlers to explore letter identification and recognition as well as pre-reading and pre-writing skills. Also, the various activites help with practicing letter sounds which encourages sensory-motor development. However, even though the kit comes with many fun-sounding games, it can quickly become boring for a toddler. Most toddlers probably would just want to play with the play doh instead of going through the extensive tasks. Plus, going through the whole set takes a very long time and requires a lot of adult help for children who can’t read the instructions yet. On the other hand, the activities, including matching letters to pictures using play doh stamps, recognizing emotions on faces (self-expression), writing words with play doh and more seems to help kids with learning the alphabet and connecting it to pictures/words as well as writing and spelling. As kids use the set more often, it could really increase their language skills and help with school in the future.
Another Shape and Learn set is the Numbers and Counting kit. It comes with three cans of play doh modeling compound in red, green, and yellow as well as eight sea animal stamps, two double sided playmats and ten number cards. The sea animals help to add fun to the set and encourages counting. The double sided playmats and number cards augments a child’s number identification skills, comparing and contrasting between numbers and animals, and counting. Much like the other sets, these activities help encourage sensory-motor development but can lose a child’s attention very quickly as they would much rather just play with the play doh. The games do, however, greatly strengthen a child’s number sense and counting.
Play Doh’s new shape and learn sets are a great gift idea for a child going into school soon to help them with reading, counting, etc. but sometimes the kits seem more like actual school than just a fun activity. If an educational play doh set with a lot of activities is what you’re looking for, then the play doh Shape and Learn sets are the kits for you.