Once again, I will use my shopping blog post to promote a product which at first glance does not seem particularly age appropriate: play-doh. I must admit, until a friend recently gave me a tub of hot pink play-doh for Valentine’s Day, I had forgotten about the wonders of this product. But while it may seem like a product best left to those to whom the warning, “fun to play with, but not to eat,” is intended, I assure you that play-doh is of even better use to you, the stressed out college student.

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Classic for a reason.

Play-doh is particularly useful for kinesthetic learners, fidgeters and, for you Myers-Briggs folks, S-type personalities. It is the perfect thing to keep your fingers busy to prevent more destructive habits like nail biting or ripping up papers. For many of us, the act of repetitive motion is connected to the memorization process, so squishing around some play-doh while studying could theoretically yield more fruitful results on your next test. Like a punching bag or screaming into a pillow, squeezing the life out of some play-doh can be a remarkably effective, and less violent, way to relieve stress or frustration. As play-doh can be a little stiff and crumbly when you first take it back out of the container, molding some play-doh can be a very rewarding way to gain the satisfaction of achieving a short term goal; once you feel the play-doh warm and squishy again in your hands you’ve gained a sense of accomplishment which can send you confidently on your way towards greater goals. A friend of mine recently mentioned that she used her play-doh to make a snowman shaped figure to whom she talks out her papers to when she’s deciding on word choice or edits. While I can’t say I’ve employed this method myself, I suppose this could be another use of play-doh for maintaining sanity in your academics. At the very least, it’s still good for its original use and can get your creative juices flowing if you are feeling particularly driven to sculpture.

Play-doh, when you’re only looking for the original, most simple variety, is very inexpensive and easy to find. Today play-doh may seem like an industry in itself, but I would recommend staying away from the new fangled gadgets at this age and focusing on the basics. Play-doh can be found at crafts stores, toy stores, and any “superstore” like Walmart and Target. They are usually only sold in packs of 4, 8, 10, or 12, and come in half ounce, three ounce, or five ounce containers.

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Walmart online lists a set of four five-ounce cans in pastel colors for $1.98: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Play-Doh-Pastel-Colors-4-Pack/14689694

Toys-R-Us sell a similar product but in classic colors on their website for $2.49: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3414419

Hasbro, the makers of Play-doh, sell a set of 24 colors of 3-ounce cans for $12.99 on their own website, the habrotoyshop.com, if you feel limited by traditional color selections: http://www.hasbro.com/playdoh/en_US/About.cfm

A classic since 1956, play-doh is truly much more than a toy for ages old enough to swallow, and is underestimated in its value to the academic world. Hasbro seems to have caught on to play-doh’s academic potential in the elementary school realms, but should possibly consider its broader value to college students like me who need something to keep their hands busy while working through a stack of flashcards.