Dough Disco

Dough Disco™ is a fine muscle exercise that Shonette Bason Wood invented when she realised the children in her class were struggling to write letters. She read a great deal of books about brain development and the fingers are one of the last things the brain controls. A group of neuro developmental practioners called INPP do an exercise with older children called tapping. It’s simply tapping the fingers in a certain order, some quite complex, on the table in front of them. She enjoyed it as much as the children and it started the growth of Dough Disco. She used dough because everyone loves dough and disco because music stimulates our happiness chemicals which in turn impact on memory. 

With a daily Dough Disco™ the child’s brain learns to control the fingers a lot quicker. It has no age limit because fine muscle needs exercise just like gross muscles.

What is dough disco?

Dough disco involves moulding play dough in time to music and performing different actions such as rolling it into a ball, flattening it, putting each individual finger into the dough, rolling it into a sausage and squeezing it…

What do you need to do a dough disco?

Music – Any song will do! We have had One Direction, Michael Olly Murs, Frozen CD, Musicals, and TV Themes to name a few of our favourites!

Dough – You can buy pots of dough or make your own with your child. See the recipes below to help!

A set of moves! – These can be done in any order.

Recipe for play dough 


  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • Food colouring


  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix the water with the food colouring.
  • Add the water/colour-mix to the other ingredients, stir well.
  • Stir continuously until it becomes dough.
  • When the mixture has cooled start to knead. Knead it until the stickiness has gone. Add more flour if it remains a little sticky.
  • When desired texture is achieved, the play dough is finished, enjoy your dough disco!

Dough disco moves!

Roll the dough into a ball using both hands.

Poke the dough with each finger and thumb in turn to make holes in the dough. Make sure you swap hands so all fingers and thumbs are used. Extend by using names of fingers and thumb:

  • Tom Thumb
  • Peter Pointer
  • Toby Tall
  • Ruby Ring
  • Baby Small

Squeeze the dough with all the fingers and thumb using a fist grip one hand at a time.

Sausage! Roll the play dough between both hands moving backwards and forwards to make a sausage.

Pancake! Hold the play dough in one hand and push the other hand flat into the play dough. Repeat this until the dough is flatter!

Pinch the play dough. Hold the play dough in one hand and use Tom Thumb and Peter Pointer to pinch the dough. Then swap hands and repeat.

Try it at home!

You have nothing to lose but all to gain by doing dough disco at home! The children will develop the muscles in their hands to help them with their pencil grip which will help them with their handwriting! Five minutes a day will help to give your children the skills they need to become happy and successful writers! Give it a go and have some fun!

Happy dough disco!