As a second child the Little Miss is sometimes over looked in terms of activities solely for her so I thought it would be fun to give her some malleable experiences with her at the centre of the activity. At 18 months old the Little Miss is a perfect age to explore the materials without fear of too much being eaten.
We started with cloud dough! I had tried this in the past, as a Foundation Stage teacher, and remembered it was very messy so we headed outside to save on the tidying! I involved her from the beginning encouraging her to carry the items to the garden as well as making the cloud dough itself.
She was involved in measuring, pouring and mixing. We used eight cups of plain flour and one cup of baby oil. As it is the summer holidays her brother was on hand too and both children enjoyed counting the cups of flour as we measured and poured so a good bit of number practise too.
Then came the fun bit. Using hands, they mixed the ingredients together. The new sensory experience brought new language with my older child noticing it was ‘slippery’, ‘so sticky’, ‘squishy and gooey'. I could also model and teach new language to the Little Miss which she enjoyed repeating.
We then experimented with a range of tools – rolling pins, pastry cutters, scoops and scissors- which was great practise for them.
After some time they wanted to experiment further by adding more baby oil. The Little Miss enjoyed squeezing the oil herself and this was a great exercise to improve her hand strength. She also loved to grab clumps of the dough and let it fall through her fingers from a great height.
Finally, after much exploration with hands, the shoes and socks came off and the children paddled in the dough which they delighted in. My older son commenting ‘it tickles my feet.’
Overall, cloud dough was a fun sensory experience which the children especially enjoyed being able to make themselves. For my two, it didn’t have the longevity of an activity like play dough or kinetic sand but was a fun activity all the same. It was, however, messy and I would recommend an outdoor space.