As Autumn creeps up on us it's starting to get chilly outside which can only mean one thing....lots more time indoors on a rainy day with the kids! But before you start to panic, here's a simple, toddler safe sensory play idea that will keep the whole family happy.
Cloud Dough. It really is as wonderful as it sounds. Not only does it feel smooth, soft and molds like sand but you have probably got all the ingredients stored at the back of the kitchen cupboard.
Cloud dough is a regular feature at Doodles HQ, but this time we wanted to inject a bit of imaginative play and decided to set up our own autumn inspired cafe for some serious sensory play!
Cloud Dough is simply:
* 7 cups of plain flour
* 1 cup of veg oil (do not use baby oil with small children as it is not safe digested).
This is the kind of recipe that we like to chuck in a huge bowl, not paying much attention to measuring too carefully and get mixing! The flour is messy, it will go all over the floor and table but hey ho, it's easy to sweep up and won't stain. For extra effects you can add powder paints to colour the dough, or glitter if you are brave and mad (like us!).
Now let the fun really began, adding in some autumnal herbs and spices to get our senses really engaged. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cocoa powder are a good place to start and young children can begin to identify and learn all about new smells, textures and the wonderful colours of the spices.
Of course, no Autumn table would be complete without a few natural extras. Pinecones, twigs, leaves, conkers and a dash of golden glitter! You could even use this as an excuse to go for a walk outdoors collecting materials outside before you start, making the entire activity last for even longer. Just don't eat any of the pretend play no matter how scrumptious it looks!
Our cloud dough cafe play ended up lasting over an hour with plenty for the kids to explore. Cloud dough provides a brilliant tactile experience for little fingers to scrunch, mix and mold. Patting down the dough, building up shapes, mixing, creating and sorting.
When used on its own it can be a wonderful, relaxing material for kids to explore, but in this case it was a great prompt for dramatic play and communication.
Give it a go! Its super easy!