Messy Play: Cloud Dough Sandcastles

Cloud dough is a lovely sensory material and really simple to make – just flour and oil! I know some people use baby oil, but I have always used vegetable oil because I have it to hand and it is also taste-safe! This is a lovely activity to do with babies once they are sitting – give them a tub of cloud dough, strip them down to their nappy, and let them at it! (Babies should also be over 6 months to do this activity, as the NHS recommendation is that they do not eat anything containing gluten before this point).

Cloud dough feels lovely and soft, but also sticks together when it is compressed. Before Christmas I made a little beach scene for T using cloud dough, small cups (to build sancastles), some shells and some miniature flags.
She loved building sand castles and knocking them down again, and making patterns in the dough using the shells.
To make your own cloud dough, measure out as much flour as you require for your chosen container, then add oil a little at a time, mixing as you go. You want the flour to be damp enough that it will clump together but it shouldn’t be sticky!

What they are learning:

Sensory development
Fine motor skills
Pattern making
Building and designing
Story telling

How to develop the play

Allow the child to add water and observe the effect this has
Challenge them to construct a more complex sandcastle – eg building a pyramid of three sandcastles.
Provide other materials (such as lolly sticks) to use.
Allow them to add colours or scents

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