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Doodles Blog

Doodles crafty and creative activity blog for kids!

Filtering by Category: nature

BUILDING WITHOUT BLOCKS! Creative character design for kids!

holly rose

Building without blocks....Creative character design for kids!

2015 sees the start of a new Doodles term and the theme this spring is 'I wish...' where we will be exploring imaginative activities to get the Doodles kids into character.

The first week began with a friendly introduction to a series of jungle animals as we all became explorers for the morning. After a lot of roaring practice we started on some creative and sensory play with an emphasis on building characters (without blocks!)....

Doodles crocodile construction in progress!

Doodles crocodile construction in progress!

We often like to engage the kids in some large scale making and this time used lots of hand painting and collage to build on our huge crocodile sculptures.

By encouraging the use of different textiles, wool, paper shreds, cotton wool and card each crocodile started to transform into an individual character. The idea was to explore the different textures from hard to soft, squidgy to smooth and also add some of the 3D element to their final designs by building up a picture! This helps with creating a dialogue and includes an element of storytelling whilst the kids are creating.

Jungle vines and scary snake designs!

Jungle vines and scary snake designs!

To extend the character play, kids could make their own jungle designs. String 'vines' hung next to the crocodiles with mini leaves and pipe cleaner 'snakes'. Using the same collage technique we wrapped, twirled and built up materials onto the wires to make a wiggly snakes and used plenty of tape in the process. TIP! Masking tape is really easy for smaller hands to tear and manage and is a good substitute for glue as it achieves the sculpture effect instantly when building...much more satisfying for a toddler!

Brocoli, spring greens and pasta playdough jungles!

Brocoli, spring greens and pasta playdough jungles!

The Doodles kids also got stuck in with some squidgy play dough building. This time the emphasis was on building a mini jungle for our animals using lots of yummy broccoli trees, spring greens and dried pasta! Food items are always a hit and add an element of play discovery to our well loved playdough!


Creative building can be more than just using blocks. By providing a range of basic materials and scraps children can explore and design without any restrictions or instructions.

Autumn Cloud Dough Cafe

holly rose

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!