The other day I came across some more amazing messy play ideas to do with Alexis during the lockdown. All thanks and credit goes to Amy from TheWifeEdit for sharing this cloud dough idea on Instagram! Cloud dough (also known as moon dough) is a homemade flour and oil-based duplicate for sand. It’s great fun, fantastic for sensory play and a lot safer than using sand. if you’re making this for the little ones you just need to substitute baby oil for cooking oil and you’re good to go. You know what babies are like everything goes straight into their mouth so at least cooking oil is edible. Although I don’t suppose cloud dough would taste fantastic it’s obviously a lot safer for them if they happen to eat it.
If you’re anything like me then you probably get bored of doing the same sh*te over and over again. Seeing your child get that one toy out for the 500th time. You know the one that continuously makes the same god damn irritating noise? Yup, I could not think of anything worse. Don’t get me wrong sometimes it’s nice to let them have wind-down time playing by themselves but it’s also nice to have a change. Having activities that you can do together not only breaks up the day but gives you chance to really invest your time in your little ones. I often find myself sat on my phone just scrolling through Twitter and then I realise that I’m in fact missing out on my child’s life. Makes me sound like a terrible parent but if we are being honest we are all guilty of doing this!
WHY IS SENSORY PLAY IMPORTANT AND BENEFICIAL FOR OUR CHILDREN?
Introducing hands-on learning is one of the best things you can do for your child. Some parents often push this aside due to it becoming messy but I promise you, a messy baby is a happy baby! You’ll be surprised at how much your child can actually get out of sensory touch and activities like this. Something that might seem very simple to us could help support your child with things such as; language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving skills, and social interaction.
Sensory play is all about allowing a child to investigate and explore whilst playing. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the 5 senses; taste. touch, smell, hearing, and sight before right? Well, there are 2 others that are quite often pushed aside but are as equally as important to our children’s development. These are known as body awareness and balance. With the help of messy play ideas, you can introduce these two concepts into your child’s life. Cloud dough is a fantastic way of allowing your child to explore their senses whilst in quite honestly, having a bloody good time! When we did this at home I couldn’t resist jumping in headfirst and making a few cloud dough castles myself. It’s very therapeutic and really helped with my mental health too.
HOW TO MAKE CLOUD DOUGH WITH EVERYDAY HOME INGREDIENTS?
The best thing about this activity is that you need a minimal amount of ingredients to make it. Most of which are very common and most households should already have. All you need is four basic products, mix them all together and you’re ready to go! If you want to spice it up and add some different colours then you just need to add an oil-based food colouring to the mix. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any at the time so we just went for the plain and simple option but I do think that adding colour is a fantastic idea! Adding a bit of colour makes it that little bit more exciting for the children don’t you think? Which can also help to teach your children colours if they don’t already know that! There we go, talk about killing two birds with one stone.
- Flour (4 cups)
- Oil – can be cooking or baby (1 cup)
- Food Colouring for a variety of colour
- Mixing bowl
You might also be interested in: Educational Messy Play Ideas With Little Learners.
The flour and oil mix makes a fluffy, buildable and wet sand-like texture making it perfect for castle building. We used a bucket and some shapes to create statues and buildings in our tray. Then after that Alexis got great pleasure in demolishing them all. Which I must admit was a step we repeated over and over again for the next hour or so. If you don’t have any of these you can always use kitchen utensils such as; pastry cutters, wooden spoons, measuring jugs etc. They would be just as good if not better!
Once you’re finished just store your cloud dough in an airtight container and it’ll be good to go again! Making it no only a really great activity but a very easy one to set up too. In all honesty, I don’t know how long it will last but we’ve used ours a total of three sessions so far and it’s still fresh.
All of these activities are fun, safe and educational for toddlers and young children. If you are looking for even more fun ideas then make sure you check out these fantastic home play ideas for 2-year-olds as well as, tips and tricks for introducing outdoor learning.