Sometimes ideas come from experience, a dream, or even necessity. For Jean Magnuson, mom turned preschool teacher, it was all three. During her time at Mayo Clinic, Magnuson was undergoing physical therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and had the realization that normal play dough was not good enough, so she took it upon herself to develop something that was.
“My therapist and I both agreed we didn’t like regular play dough, so she told me to come up with something different. I promised her I would,” said Magnuson.
In comes the invention of Dexterity Dough. Actually, it began as “Discovery Dough,” until Magnuson discovered how difficult it was to trademark “discovery.”
“My daughter Emily came up with ‘Dexterity Dough’ and then she read me the definition of dexterity, which read: ‘Skill in using one’s hands, mind or body.’ That seemed to fit,” Magnuson explained.
With the tagline “be inspired, be creative, be bold,” there was a sense of childhood wonder and hope from the beginning. With the name and brand solidified, Magnuson was faced with the task of creating a playdough that was good for the skin, long-lasting, and most importantly, didn’t crumble.
“I consulted chemists, scientists, bakers, and aromatherapy experts. It took about seven years to perfect the recipe, which is now a trade secret,” revealed Magnuson.
Included in the Baking Set
16×11 silicone baking mat, one silicone rolling pin, two scissors (one straight and one wavy), 2 sets of cookies cutters, and a drawstring backpack.
Inspired by children, art, and her family, Magnuson set out to make Dexterity Dough a household name, as well as a key component in various types of therapy. With orange oil to inspire creativity and coconut oil to moisturize hands, it was far from a hard sell to buyers, not to mention all of the natural ingredients make Dexterity Dough 100 percent edible.
“Some children use it as a quiet fidget toy during school, and many therapists use it when working with individuals with trauma, autism, and/or ADHD. Residents in nursing homes use it to help with hand strength, and I know executives who use it for employee meetings because it promotes creativity and tranquility,” explained Magnuson.
Magnuson’s basement has become home to the entire Dexterity Dough process, from manufacturing to packaging, which she has come to learn is no small feat. Gathering spot-on ingredients, the ideal tools, and of course, “the perfect James Taylor” song have all been learning curves Magnuson has encountered.
“I only listen to soulful, uplifting music when I make Dexterity Dough. James and I have made a lot of dough together,” chuckled Magnuson.
Just in time for the holiday season, Dexterity Dough offers a toy and baking set, that includes tools that can be used for play dough and actual baking. Along with the usual rolling pin and cookie cutters, Magnuson also incorporated a silicon mat and different types of scissors. Having the tools be dual purpose allows for children to bake with others, or create and imagine by themselves.
“The set is designed for open-ended play, which means each child has a different thought process when sitting at a table with a rolling pin, cookie cutters, scissors, and dough,” said Magnuson.
If successfully creating a non-crumbling play dough wasn’t enough, Magnuson also donates a significant portion of the profits to help children. Anything from equine therapy to pediatric cancer research, Dexterity Dough is not only helping the children who play with it, but also those who can’t.
“IF I CAN MAKE ONE CHILD’S LIFE A LITTLE EASIER, WHETHER IT’S THE DOUGH ITSELF OR THE GIVING BACK, THEN MY LIFE IS FULL.”
“My dream is that some big company will buy my small company and take it to the next level, which means more money to give back,” beamed Magnuson.
For more information, visit dexteritydough.com.
SOME OF THE PLACES YOU CAN
FIND DEXTERITY DOUGH
CHILD’S PLAY TOYS (SIOUX FALLS)
PLUM’S COOKING CO. (SIOUX FALLS)
IRISH TWINS (BERESFORD)
SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN (RAPID CITY)
WILD ROSE (SPEARFISH)