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Cloud Dough Ice Cream Parlor Pretend Play: Play and Learning are Inseparable

cloud dough ice cream shop sensory pretend play Mommy Labs

All that fun began on a whim this past Saturday afternoon. I was clearing out the fridge and out came the box of cloud dough that Pari and her friends had played with more than couple of months back. I’d put all of it in an air tight box in the regrigerator. Must say it was a neat idea for the cloud dough was perfectly fine even after so long.

I asked Pari if she’d like to play and offered her some food colour to make coloured cloud dough. This random turned into an elaborate play that lasted two days at a stretch!

Read on to know the whole story…

Making Coloured Cloud Dough

To begin with, I gave her some red liquid food colour. But, we quickly figured out that liquid food colour won’t work. The liquid wouldn’t gel with all that oil in the cloud dough.

pink cloud dough ice cream sensory play

So, I fetched the red, orange and green powdered food colour and she was on a sensory spree….

Not only did she colour the old cloud dough in various colours by diving the whole batch into small portions.

cocoa cloud dough

But, she went on to *create a fresh batch so she could make some chocolate cloud dough (by mixing cocoa) and some lemon yellow cloud dough by mixing turmeric powder. [* to make basic cloud dough add 1/2 cup oil (baby oil/olive oil or even refined oil to 4 cups flour (maida)]

colored cloud dough

yellow colored cloud dough

An Ice-Cream Parlour in the Making…

Yes, you got it, by this time, she’d decided to make a whole range of ice-creams to represent different flavours – strawberry+rose, orange, mango, chocolate and Pistachio!

Colourful Cloud Dough Ice Cream

Once she was done with the cloud dough, she went in quietly inside her room to set up her ice cream parlour.

I was in the kitchen during this time.

After a while, my mom (she’s here with us these days) comes and tells me that Pari has cleaned up her room like no one’s business; has converted her table into a beautiful setting for the parlour and has even painted the chalk board with names, menu, art and other things to make her ‘shop’ attractive.

I was curious to take a peek. The moment I stepped at her room door, she shut it close saying she wants to surprise me later on when I would come to her ice cream parlour as a customer.

In the meantime, she was doing some last minute decorations.

She asked me where could she find some flowers. Ever -enthusiastic that I am for such playful endeavours, I rushed to the store room in the middle of cooking, to dig out some old plastic flowers. She cleaned them up under the tap, dried with a few jerky shakes of her wrist and put them into one of her painted glass bottles.

Cloud Dough Chocolate Ice Cream Pretend Play Mommy Labs

Knick Knacks for the Ice Cream Parlour

My cooking job and facilitating stuff for her ice cream parlour was happening simultaneously. I gave her some glass bowls and some colourful spoons. We also cut out a cadbury choclolate box cover to use as a name plate of sorts.

Then, we had lunch and got ready to pretend play…

We the customers are in for a pleasant surprise! 

Mommy Labs Creative Play and Learning

As I enter her room, err… her ice-cream parlour, my jaws dropped!

Her room, which was messy when I’d last seen, was all spick and span and inviting! I had no idea where she managed to ‘hide’ the books, toys, pencils and pens that were lying all around. But, that didn’t matter…

Play Ideas with Cloud Dough Moon Sand

I was so impressed with the quick revamp that she’d achieved and had set up this space for her ice cream parlour – all by herself!

Pink Strawberry Cloud Dough Ice Cream

The pretend play was elaborate, I must tell you – both on her part as well as ours. ;-)

Mommy Labs Creative Learning Ideas India

And you can see, why….

  1. She explained the whole process of making ice creams from natural ingredients (that was a story of-course!)
  2. She helped us see the textures in her pink ice cream and explained how the crushed rose petals that she uses in her recipe lends this texture and colour.
  3. She went on to add that her parlour is eco-friendly as her refrigerator is built in a way that it uses very less energy to cool the inside. Brilliant, I must say! I’d like such a refrigerator, too.Creative Play and Homeschooling Ideas India Mommy Labs
  4. Our innovative ice cream parlour owner made my mom comfortable on her lounge. She didn’t forget to add that she has that lounge specially for her elderly customers.
  5. I asked her if she would introduce new flavours in the coming days. And, she took out a notepad to jot down what flavours would I like. I mentioned – blackcurrent and blue berry.
  6. She told us that if we’d like to come the next day, she would add shakes and pastries to her menu.

Mommy Labs

So, we feel very tempted to visit the next day, too.

The next day, true to her words, she had planned out an elaborate menu, which she called “a feast”!

cloud dough ice creams pretend play Mommy Labs

There were ice-cream shakes, colourful desserts in the shape of eggs, muffins and more!

Colorful Cloud Dough Pretend Play

Ice Cream Cloud Dough Play

Do we still think that play is separate from learning?

Will we still doubt the value of play?

I can bet, I won’t. I’m absosultely convinced that children learn by playing.

And, we don’t need to direct their play.

Sure, we would do great to provide interesting things to make their play more fun, imaginative and creative.

We can and must participate in their play.

We can become child-like and share their enthusiasm.

But, not direct.

And, I’d always keep in mind that children make sense of the world around them through play and through sensory experiences – by touching, feeling, smelling, tasting…

Do you play with your children? What kind of play is your child’s favourite – outdoor play, sensory play, water play, sand play, board games, tag games? Or, anything else? 


Here are some more ways to play with cloud dough:

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom Blog September 18, 2012, 7:45 pm

    This is great. As you know cloud dough is jokingly “banned” at our house, but we’ll give it another go! Beautiful creations!

    • Rashmie @ Mommy Labs September 22, 2012, 8:47 pm

      So glad to have you here! Yes, I’d read that amusing story about cloud dough being banned in your house! You could show these pictures to get the ban lifted ;-)

  • Roshni September 19, 2012, 3:43 am

    Wow! That looks like fun and the way in which she displayed her ice cream creations is impressive!!

  • Maya September 19, 2012, 8:36 pm

    What fun! Looks so so so fantastic. Her creations really look so edible. By the way, there is an eco-friendly fridge that is made in India : http://indianbydesign.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/design-feature-mitti-cool/

    • Rashmie @ Mommy Labs September 22, 2012, 8:51 pm

      Those refrigerators are ingenius, Maya! I feel like visiting that place in Gujarat and getting one for our home. We could save on so much electricity…
      Thanks a ton for sharing!

  • Ann September 20, 2012, 7:29 am

    What an all around awesome activity and beautiful images as always : )

  • vandana craftsia September 21, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Her beautiful creations seem so tempting, making me scream for ice-cream:). Play can definitely be a fun way of learning and kids enjoy it more if we adults too join in on their games and take a trip to their imaginary world. Your daughter sure has been very creative with the cloud dough and with no chemicals this is one dough(clay) that both kids and mothers can be happy about.

    • Rashmie @ Mommy Labs September 22, 2012, 8:54 pm

      How wonderful to have you here, Vandana :-)
      You’re right – kids appreciate so much when we adults – especially parents – join in, in their imaginary play…

  • Mansi September 24, 2012, 10:53 pm

    This is awesome Rashmie. as Advised by you in your last post. we made our first batch of cloud dough and it was so much fun!!
    my little one to wanted to take all that cloud dough to her pretend play shop.

  • Melissa @The Chocolate Muffin Tree October 7, 2012, 6:42 pm

    That is so fabulous Rashmie. So powdered food color? I don’t know if I have ever seen that?

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  • Tracy Acevedo May 12, 2014, 9:09 am

    I’ve found an easy way to color cloud dough that is inexpensive and the colors are endless. You can purchase a box of sidewalk chalk (I usually find a box of 20 or so chalks at dollar stores) if you take a butter knife and just scratch it up and down on the chalk over a cup, you can use the dust to mix into the sand. Use as little or as much as you want depending on how light or dark you want to make the sand. And the best part it is not messy and it doesn’t turn the kiddies hands different colors. Also very easy to clean up.