When it comes to sensory play, there’s a plethora of options to choose from – playdough, slime, Gak, and many more. But there’s another exciting sensory play material that you might not have tried yet: cloud dough. Its soft, mouldable, and delightfully squishy texture offers a distinct sensory experience that sets it apart from other play materials.
What is cloud dough?
Cloud dough, also known as moon sand, is a homemade play material that’s incredibly easy to make and fun to play with. The primary ingredients are flour and oil, giving it a unique texture that’s similar to a cross between sand and dough.
The magic of cloud dough lies in its peculiar properties. It’s soft and fluffy to the touch, like a cloud (hence the name). But at the same time, it can be easily moulded and holds its shape, much like wet sand. When squeezed, it comes together; when released, it flows gently through your fingers.
How is cloud dough different?
The primary difference between cloud Dough and other play materials lies in its texture and consistency.
Compared to Playdough, Cloud Dough is lighter and less dense. It doesn’t require the same level of manual strength to manipulate, making it a great option for younger children or those with motor challenges. Unlike Playdough, it doesn’t dry out, which means children can enjoy extended play sessions.
In contrast with Slime or Gak, Cloud Dough is not sticky. This makes clean up easier and provides a different sensory experience. It’s also less likely to leave stains or residues on furniture, clothes, or your child’s skin.
What are the developmental benefits?
Playing with cloud dough offers a range of cognitive and developmental benefits. These include:
- Sensory exploration. Cloud Dough provides a multi-sensory experience. Children can explore how it feels (touch), looks (sight), and even smells (smell, if you add scented oils). This stimulates their sensory processing and helps them learn about the world around them.
- Fine motor development. Moulding, squeezing, and manipulating Cloud Dough helps children build their fine motor skills. These skills are crucial for tasks such as writing, buttoning clothes, or tying shoelaces.
- Creativity. Given its mouldable nature, cloud dough can be anything a child wants it to be – from pretend food to a construction site, the possibilities are endless. This stimulates their creativity and imagination.
- Emotional regulation. The tactile experience of playing with cloud dough can be therapeutic. It can help children calm down, focus, and manage their emotions.
Make your own cloud dough
Making cloud dough is incredibly simple. All you need is flour and oil (baby oil or vegetable oil works well).
The typical ratio is 8 to 1 of flour to oil, but you can adjust to get your preferred consistency.
Add food colouring or glitter for a visual twist, or scented oils for a sensory boost. Just remember that adding colour or scent makes the dough less edible, so it’s best suited for older children who understand not to eat their play materials.
Cloud dough is a wonderful addition to your child’s sensory play repertoire. Its unique properties offer a distinct play experience that’s different from Playdough, Slime, or Gak. Whether your child is a budding scientist, a creative artist, or a sensory explorer, they’re sure to enjoy the wonders of Cloud Dough.