Your young child will probably need many examples and lots of practice, to get really good at this. Be patient! It is worth it, when you think of all the things you can make with playdough, once you know how to roll it out into long pieces . . . snakes! ropes! coiled pots! rugs! letters! pretzels!
1. Use colored salt dough to make rugs for the dollhouse. These will air dry hard and last for years, if they don't get wet.
2. Use any colors to make snakes, or start with white to make the snakes, and then paint them.
3. Use ropes to form letters. Bake or air dry, then glue to a piece of heavy cardboard, for a room decoration.
4. Make fake food to fool people with -- pretzels are especially fun to make.
5. Make a coil pot.
Yes, rolling playdough helps teach concepts and build skills that are important for academic success.
* Increase vocabulary especially in the area of math and science, by learning words about size, shape, and position, comparisons, and concepts such as cause/effect.
* Improve hand strength and finger coordination they need to hold a pencil and write nicely.
* Good Character. It really can be tricky for a young child to learn how to roll smoothly, without lumps and bumps in the rope/snake, and they'll develop their patience, determination, and problem solving skills while they figure this out.