Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sensory bin: Cloud dough!

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This morning started unusually early.  The weather has been gorgeous this week, and we've been spending most of our time outside, often in the garden or away from home.  On Tuesday, we spent 5 hours at the zoo.  It was glorious.  Counting the hour drive there and back, we were gone all day.
She kept calling him "kitty" and then signing "want" and "please".  Despite her manners, we did not bring home the red panda.

Yet, the fresh air and exhausting trips have done little to encourage more sleep.  In fact, it would seem it has given her multiple winds.  Since my prayer of a first or second wind today was going to come from my new zoo mug, I needed something to keep her inside long enough for me to drink my coffee.  (It isn't that my coffee can't go outside... it is just easier to drink when not sprinting across the yard, and tastes better without the addition of soil.  How she gets it into my travel mug, I'll never know.)

Enter Cloud Dough.  Yes.  I was first introduced to cloud dough via Pinterest, and have wanted to try it ever since.  There are a million variations of cloud dough, but really what you need is flour and oil in roughly an 8:1 ratio.  I buy the cheapest of cheap flour that I can find in a giant bag for crafty things.  I did salt dough handprint ornaments with my amazing playgroup and had just enough cheapy McCheap flour left for half a batch of cloud dough - perfect if you have one kid.  (This is also a great way to use up any flour before Passover, if you are going to get rid of it anyway.)  Add any more kids in the mix and I'd recommend making a full or double batch.  It is pretty fun stuff.  (I may have played with it a bit more at nap time.)

Most internet recipes tell you to use baby oil, which I had 3oz of.  To make up the difference, I added some Trader Joe's Lavender Body Oil.  The stuff smells heavenly.  Bonus, it will make your kid smell good, too.

Mix the flour and oil together.  I started this out, as the flour will be flour at first, but if you have an older child who won't treat it like fairie dust, let them mix it.

Cloud dough is dry.  It should stay together when packed or squeezed, and crumble when pushed... like moon sand.  I added a little extra oil, since our skin sucked out a good deal of the dough.

I let V. just play with the dough for a while.  She really enjoyed patting it down into one solid mass.  Then I gave her a bunch of cutters, molds, and cups to press it into.  And let's not forget one of her most treasured toys currently: the Popsicle stick.

The most impressive part about this dough was that what little did stick brushed right off.  We didn't walk away from the table looking like we'd been in a flour fight, or that we'd been frying latkes without an apron. If the flour is sticking, add a little more oil.

I'm not sure if it keeps.  It feels a bit like the stuff inside of stress balls, so if you were looking to upcycle this, you could always put it into balloons.  Ours will likely end up in the vacuum or compost when its run is over.

On another note...
For those in the market for a great, affordable kid table, I recommend the Latt table from Ikea.  As you can see, it has a little ledge to keep things like rice and crayons from falling over.  At 14 months young, V. can climb into the chairs herself.
 Of course, nothing is going to stop the children from just dumping stuff over the side...

(Crayon box also from Ikea.  80 more of those babies, and my whole house will be organized.  They are solid, kid-friendly, and Ikea cheap.)

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