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For little ones with BIG imaginations!
Fall Colouring Fun

Fall Colouring Fun

6 Colouring Pages Filled with Fall Fun!

grandpa and child colouring

As we approach cozy, sweater Season and more time indoors for little ones, we thought we’d design some FREE Autumn-inspired colouring pages to enjoy and to help pass the time. All of our graphics are designed in-house by our talented designer, Farhana.

We love colouring pages for a lot of reasons – it’s quick and easy to keep kids busy, mess-free, and helps to support fine motor skills and creativity – plus it’s fun for kids and adults alike, so grab some pencil crayons and join in!

P.S. Did you download our Summer colouring pages yet?

If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

 

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Getting Little Hands Ready

Getting Little Hands Ready

The Development of Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

Play is essential part in the development of children’s cognitive abilities, as it is not simply the increase in brain matter, but also experiences that determines the rate in which your child’s development advances. Part of this development includes fine motor skills; the use of smaller muscles. Of course, the more these muscles are used, the stronger they will become and the better your child will develop their coordination. Building these finer motor skills will help children to do things such as button their shirt, tie their shoe laces, write, use scissors, spread butter on their toast etc. The more they use these skills, the stronger they’ll develop, and the faster children become independent (for parents that means a lighter load and not having to do everything, yay for independence!).

little hands playing with orange dough and wooden rolling pin

Fine motor skills tend to be difficult for young children because it requires the use of both sides of the brain. Some children do experience a harder time with this, often termed as a ‘delay’, however with practice they’ll get better (on their time). There are a number of ways your child can not only enjoy themselves but also continuously develop these skills, so that when they do start more complex tasks such writing, the process will be easier.

Activities that build these fine motor skills include playing with blocks, tracing shapes, finger painting, puzzles and so much more. Of course, playing with dough is on the top of this list! (especially for us)

Our dough sets are created to promote the development of multiple areas in your child – consider it ‘the mother of all activities’, that will work towards advancing the development of your child in a fun, simple way.

Here’s why it works so well:

Shape It & Squeeze It– Stress Relief

Many of us take for granted the inherit love of rolling dough into a ball and squishing it with all the gusto that can be mustered. It is oddly satisfying and keeps children busy for hours, regardless of what shape(s) they make their dough into.

little hand poking purple dough on imagination mat

The science behind this is the same as squeeze balls (the ones marketed to adults as a form of relieving stress). When a child squishes play dough it stimulates nerves in their hands that signals the part of the brain associated with emotions (limbic region), thus promoting feelings of relaxation and calm. It’s a simple, creative way to have that ‘down time’.

Roll It & Cut It- Focus & Coordination
little hands cutting green dough with cutter on white table

Fine motor skills take longer to develop because there is more than one task required for the brain to be able to complete the job it’s supposed to do; this requires focus. Alongside an increase in hand-eye coordination, playing with dough can also do just that, increase focus.

As many know, at The Dough Parlour we are all about those cutters! While play dough is ‘free form play’ that offers a wide range of creative options, the use of a rolling pin and cutters work to develop a child’s ability to focus and complete a slightly more complex task. This seemingly basic activity readies children for more difficult tasks in life, such as the most notable accomplishment in fine motor skills: the fist and pincer grip. This skill is apparent in a child when they are able to properly grasp a pencil and write with it.

Independent Play (mess-free, parent alone time!)

Psychologists advocate allowing children the space to play by themselves, as it builds creativity, confidence, calms them and readies them for when they go to school (a time when you are not around). Of course, this also offers parents some relief and a means of restoring their sanity – necessary for everyone’s well-being.

young boy playing with purple dough on table with wooden farm animal toys and trees

Many activities that promote the development of fine motor skills such as finger painting can be messy. Play dough is one of those activities that allow children to get right in there, without instructions or fixed responses, and doesn’t entail someone else having to “help” them play (nor clean up a disaster when they are done).  It is an easy and safe way to encourage independent play, while offering a wealth of exploration and imagination.

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Sugar Cookie Fun! (Easy, tasty recipe included!)

Sugar Cookie Fun! (Easy, tasty recipe included!)

Bonding with Your Children Just Got Even Sweeter!

Sugar cookie fun

At The Dough Parlour we’re all about fun and food – especially when it involves sweet treats! Since there’s nothing quite as motivating to children than jumping into ‘real life’ play we have something special for you… We whipped up some easy, delicious, fun shaped cookies, and included the recipe so you can make them too.

This sugar cookie recipe is simply the best, with an added bonus of allowing us to use our creative cutters that dig deep into children’s imagination! Also, if we’re being honest, they taste awesome too (yes, biased, but it’s true).

Of course, the fun doesn’t stop once the cookies are baked, there’s also decorating – yum! If your ‘lil ones are anything like ours, they’ll be excited to complete their cookie making mission by adding icing on top (it’s serious business in here!).

Sugar cookies are a simple, yet great activity that boosts a child’s confidence by organically enticing them to follow through a task from start to finish. They want to do it because it’s fun and rewarding! (It helps that their sweet tooth pushes them to go that extra mile!)

We’ve got plenty of cutter sets to suit every child’s interest! Take a deep dive into crystal waters and sandy beaches with our Mermaid Cutters Set, or check out our Sea Life cutters are available for a limited time in our Summer Edition Sensory Surprise box, available as well at Maisonette.

Sugar cookies Play dough with cutters and wooden rolling pin Sensory Surprise Summer box

The Dough Parlour’s Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie Recipe
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (or use salted butter and only 1/2 tsp added salt)
• 1 cup of sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 tsp if using salted butter)

1. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl and beat until creamy.
2. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet until well combined.
5. Divide dough into two disks, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
TIP: To make cutting easier, pre-roll your dough before putting it into the fridge, just make sure you cover it well so it doesn’t dry out, and use parchment or a silicone baking mat to keep the two layers separate.
6. Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
7. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out one cookie dough to about 1/4″ thick. Add flour as needed.
8. Use our cutters to cut out shapes and transfer shapes to the baking sheet.
9. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until edges begin to golden.
10. Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet before frosting with your favourite frosting recipe!

[Print Recipe]

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A Fun Way to Keep Your Children Hydrated

A Fun Way to Keep Your Children Hydrated

watermelon cut into fun shape with cutters

Shake things up this summer with playful edible eats! If your children are anything like ours at Dough Parlour, then we know how tiring it is to get children to stop their summer fun and stay hydrated. So, we came up with an easier way than to keep yelling for them to drink something. How? Well, by using our cool, fun shape cutters.

Fruits, especially watermelons, are loaded with water and nutrients (92% water). Of course, being that they’re sweet, they are also always a favourite. We took children’s love for fruit and play by simply pressing out watermelon shapes using our cutters, and guess what? They were a hit! They also happened to be the perfect size; not too big that they didn’t want to take it along with them and not too small that they finished it in one giant, mouth stuffing bite. Also, by adding a variety of shapes they turned eating fruit into a little game of their own.

Little things really do make all the difference.

watermelon cut into heart shape with cutter watermelon cut into heart shapes with cutter watermelon cut into heart shapes on blue plates 

Oh, one more thing – if you want to take your fruit flavours to a new level, we’ve got some watermelon scented dough at The Parlour… mmm!

What about you? Do you have any creative ways to keep your children hydrated, make your fruit pretty, or use Dough Parlour’s cool cutters? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Share it with us @DoughParlour and happy shape cutter-ing (not a word, but why not?)!

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Summer Colouring Fun

Summer Colouring Fun

6 Colouring Pages Filled with Sunshine!

Grandpa colouring with child

Smiles are everywhere with our latest new resource in the Dough Parlour’s online hub! It’s a quick and easy way to keep children busy (and off screens), while supporting their development in fine motor skills and creativity. Another advantage of colouring is that it helps children increase their level of concentration, and offers a form of independent play.

So naturally, we couldn’t help but create something special for parents to print out and enjoy during the summer. Children can have fun with one or all six of our summer fun colouring sheets to get creative at the park, on the patio or just keep busy inside.

children colouring

Here’s another fun fact about colouring:

“Colouring has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind. This generates mindfulness and quietness.”

With that said – moms, dads, grandparents or any caregiver: maybe print two copies and join in on some mental relaxation (and special bonding)

If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s summer colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

Mother and daughter colouring

Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

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Top 5 fun things to make with play dough

Top 5 fun things to make with play dough

Some toys just never go out of style. While ball in cup and the slinky have seen better days, play dough seems to excite children of any generation. That seems to be because play dough is based on imagination and creativity. It’s not a static function toy like the others. Play dough knows no boundaries. So you may be excited to buy some play dough for your kids, and can’t wait to see what sort of creations they come up with. If you want to inspire their creativity here are the top 5 fun things to make with play dough using our 100% non toxic dough parlour, as seen on CBC’s Canadian television show, Dragon’s Den. These ideas below should open up the creativity flood gates and make play dough fun for years to come.

Top 5 fun things to make with play dough

 

1. NOT YOUR AVERAGE COOKIE CUTTERS!

Dough cutters can be the most satisfying thing to use with play dough. It’s also a super fun start for younger kids that need help channeling their creativity. Think of them as the training wheels for play dough! We offer a lot of different cutters so your kid can shape their dough into dinosaurs, llamas, pumpkins, cats, dogs, or even the night sky! Creativity is born at a young age, so help nurture that part of your child’s brain with the right tools!

cookie cutters

2. AND THE ANIMALS WENT IN TWO BY TWO

If your kid is a little beyond the cutter stage, and looking to expand their creative potential, start thinking about what exciting things they see every day. I like to use animals as my inspiration since kids always go wild for animals. Whether it’s a play dough creation of their pet cat or dog, or even a llama, animals are lovable so kids enjoy molding play dough into them.

3. MAKE THINGS THAT THEY SEE DAILY… FOOD

Making fruits or vegetables is a great way for your young child to form connections with the world around them. I love giving my kids pumpkin spice play dough in the Fall. This way when they make pumpkins, trees, or leaves they also get the sensory benefits of smelling pumpkin too. Sensory learning is so crucial for young minds, so I like to facilitate those connections that help them build their knowledge base. Since my dough is made from 100% all-natural and non-toxic ingredients you don’t have to worry about the temptation they’ll naturally have for putting their creations in their mouths. All kids do it, but you shouldn’t have to worry about what that means for their health! ADDED BONUS – This activity might make your child a better eater and give them more appreciation for healthy foods.

play dough lemon

4. BRING BACK THE DINOS

Dinosaurs have sparked the imagination of kids for many generations now. Everyone loves the mysterious world that we can’t quite grasp. So give your kids some ideas on how to make fun dino creations! Grab some penne pasta for spikes, candy corn for teeth, and googly eyes. Then sit back and watch your kid bring the dinosaur of their dreams to life!

5. BRING SOME CHARACTERS TO THE TABLE

Nothing adds character quite like googly eyes and pipe cleaners. With these simple tools, your child can create life-like creations, monsters, princesses or whatever beings their imaginations can come up with. Pipe cleaners are great because they can be arms, legs, tails, or cut shorter to make hair.

Young child playing with dough and dolls

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Socialization Through Play

Socialization Through Play

As an early childhood educator, I've had the pleasure and privilege of working with children with different abilities, temperaments, personalities and cultural backgrounds. It can be challenging bringing a group of diverse children together in one spot, quietly. 

One of the best activities to do as a group was playing with play dough. I remember sitting in the corner in amazement as the children would engage in the most adorable conversations with each other. They would ask each other questions, trade their tools and accessories. Friendships blossomed. And sometimes, they just sat quietly and calmly. Whatever engagement level or mood my kids were in, playing with play dough also meant learning to socialize. 

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The Sensory Experience with Dough Parlour

The Sensory Experience with Dough Parlour

Non-scented play dough is in itself a great sensory play experience, as it involves touch and sight, and lots of hand-eye coordination. Dough Parlour brings a THIRD sensory component to the table... with our delightfully scented play dough. Because our ingredients are 100% food-based, safe and non-toxic, that means your child can sniff, and even taste if he wants to! We never recommend tasting or eating our dough though, because of the high sea salt content!  Go ahead and explore our variety of scents and colours!

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For little ones, with BIG imaginations.

For little ones, with BIG imaginations.

Fond memories of imagining, shaping and creating play dough masterpieces have filled homes for decades. One such home is that of Natalie’s – founder of The Dough Parlour Inc. As an early years educator, driven to inspire through sensory play, Natalie spent more than 10 years refining and defying her dough recipe to create an epic experience.
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