Playing with Cloud Dough has become one of Max’s favorite activities recently. Like most preschoolers, he can sit very happily with a pile of sand or other sensory items for quite a long while.
At one point, we had a store-bought product called Kinetic Sand that was amazing. It was real sand but less messy. Almost like wet sand in that it would stay clumped and not get all over the floor. Both of my kids absolutely loved the stuff but, as you can imagine it got gross after hours of play. I’ve been meaning to replace it but one day Max started begging for the stuff and I didn’t have it. So we improvised by making Cloud Dough.
Cloud Dough is a pretty fancy name for that this really is: flour mixed with a small amount of vegetable oil to give it the consistency of sand. I know: it sounds like an absolute clean up nightmare. Weirdly, the oil makes it rather clumpy and it doesn’t make much of a mess.
We have rules of course. We play with our Cloud Dough on a plastic tablecloth that gets shaken clean outdoors after use. And the dough goes in an old baking pan stacked on top of a rimmed baking sheet. And Cloud Dough users must wear and apron and roll up sleeves. And wash hands as soon as they leave the table. But with those precautions in place, it is so worth it.
I typically sit him down with an assortment of plastic construction vehicles, seashells, Dollar Store Dinosaurs and a few brushes and tools for digging. He will literally sit, playing quietly for over an hour. This is close to miraculous for my active little guy. Lilly also enjoys Cloud Dough, but to a lesser degree. Being a little older, this stuff only manages to hold her attention for about 20 minutes or so. Even so, its a fun, easy, relaxing quiet activity for those days when you’re just dying for something to do.
This week, we’ll likely have a few of those. Its the kids’ Spring Break week, the forecast calls for rain almost every day and we have absolutely nothing planned. On top of that I’m recovering from an unfortunate stomach virus and kept me in bed for most of the weekend. So, yeah, it could be a long week around here. Hopefully between a few staycation field trips to museums and the zoo and some fun sensory activities, we’ll keep busy.
If you’re facing the same dilemma, a salute you. And here is our super easy Cloud Dough ‘recipe’:
2 cups flour (I suggest whole wheat flour if you have it, for a “sandier” texture)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 gallon resealable plastic bag
- To make dough, combine flour and oil in the plastic bag. Seal the bag and mix until the oil is completely absorbed and the mixture has the sand like consistency.
- At play time, place cloud dough in a baking sheet or large plastic tub with a plastic tablecloth underneath. Add cups, scoops, trucks, shells or other items as desired.
- When finished playing, return cloud dough to bag and seal tightly. Store dough and reuse indefinitely.