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Cloud Dough: Unique Ideas for Sensory Play and Art

Cloud Dough sensory play recipe art free play for kids

Cloud Dough – the recipe for this home-made sensory play material is the easiest of all the things I’ve ever made! Then, why such a dreamy, fairytale-like, even otherworldly-sounding name?

I think because when playing with it the child feels on ‘cloud nine’ – as in – on top of the world! Really, that’s how Pari has responded to this simple, sensory material.

Well, that’s just my version! Or may be it was named so due to how it looks when moulded between hands. Yes, it does look like white, silky, fluffy clouds when you take a hand-full and form it with your hand clutched into a fist.

Cloud Dough has an immediate ‘WOW’ effect on the child the moment it’s touched. The mould-able consistency and silky smooth texture between hands feels instantly soothing and pleasing to the senses. It’s kind of like wet sand – very easy to sculpt without any stickiness.

And, unlike playdough or salt dough, the child can disintegrate it without any effort. It can be sent back to its powdery form within seconds. And then remoulded at the blink of an eye!

Cloud Dough will mesmerize every child – no matter what the age. For younger kids – as in toddlers, this could be the best sensory material, I think. No exaggeration there.

Don’t take my words for it, see the pictures. (too bad I had to click with my 7-year old Point-and-Shoot camera as I left my Canon DSLR at my friend’s place – thanks to my absent mindedness. I need to go pick it up one of these days.)

Oh, and check out the recipe and the different ways to play with Cloud Dough. And even do some art and rangoli! Yes, possible!

I first came across Cloud Dough last year via Rachelle at Tinkerlab, who in turn had spotted it on Flights of Whimsy. When making our Pink Valentine Salt Dough, I introduced Pari to Cloud Dough, but since we were so eager to make the pink salt dough for the hearts, we didn’t spend much time with the cloud dough.

Last month though, I recalled it and made a note to buy Baby Oil (required for the recipe). And over the last few weeks, Pari has played with it very often and for hours at a stretch.

Recipe for Cloud Dough

It’s simple as simple can be! Really.

8 parts all-purpose flour (maida) and one part Baby Oil. Actually, if you don’t have baby oil at your disposal, you can use any other oil. Out of the number of times we’ve made cloud dough, we’ve used Baby Oil only once. The other times we used Olive Oil plus a little Baby Oil.

I think Baby Oil is recommended for its soothing smell and may be the texture too. But, olive oil worked just as beautifully for us. Tinkerlab had used Canola Oil and were happy with it. For the smell, I’d recommend using any essential oil. We used Rose.

See, the recipe is that simple. Can it get any more simple than this!

Now the fun begins! And, hey, it’s fun for us moms when it comes to the cleaning part, too. I say this because it’s not sticky, and can be easily picked up just by pressing fingers.

As always, I let Pari make her own. I gave her the canister of flour, the measuring cup, and a large steel tray (I use it to knead dough for rotis).

how to make cloud dough at home


If you’re making this for a younger child – a toddler or a baby, I’d recommend using Olive Oil or any other edible oil rather than Baby Oil. For baby oil can be toxic if ingested or inhaled. It can even cause eye irritation if rubbed accidentally. I might try coconut oil next time. Although, if you want to store the cloud dough in refrigerator for later use, the coconut oil tends to harden.

So, whether you’re using Olive oil or Coconut Oil or hey even Sesame seed (lin seed) oil – the added advantage is the beneficial effect of these oils on the skin!

what is cloud dough

Pari and her friend played in their own individual trays and each used her own set of tools as per liking to tinker with.

Cloud Dough Bakery

Pari had used the cup cake moulds before so she was eager to try other knick knacks. While her friend was fascinated making the cup cakes one after the other.

cloud dough cup cakes

And decorating with coloured pebbles…

decorated cloud dough muffins

pretend cherry topped cup cakes with cloud dough

Some dried fruits from the Casuarina tree…

cloud dough pies

Pari making Cloud Dough Pies…

cloud dough bakery

Moulding with shells!

cloud dough pretend cook play

Cloud Dough Art and Rangoli

This part was enthralling! I have to admit – I want to make my own batch of clough dough to try out all the artful possibilities like these.

cloud dough art

The impressionable texture of cloud dough lended itself beautifully to these wooden blocks meant for stamping/printing on fabric or paper.

cloud dough rangoli

The best part about cloud dough is – unlike playdough/salt dough – the kid doesn’t have to knead it every time he/she wants to undo the previous activity. Just rub it between fingers and its back to its powdery form again to start afresh. I think this is a huge advantage.

sensory play art ideas for kids

why is sensory play important for children

Some more Cloud Dough art – this time with patterned rolling pins

toddler play sensory play ideas

Back to Pretend Cooking – chop chop chop….!

chopping the cloud dough pretend play

All you need is a business card to go about chopping the cloud dough… ;-)

The girls went on to play for at least an hour and a half!

Once they were done, I collected all the cloud dough and stored it in an air tighter container in the fridge. This can be used for days or even weeks.

One batch that we made was nearly 10 days back and we’re still using it.

Have you made Cloud Dough? If not, I highly recommend. It comes in really handy on a hot boring afternoon to keep the kiddo engrossed while you get some ‘me’ time!

Some more sensory play ideas:

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Leela July 4, 2012, 3:44 am

    This looks great! Thank you so much. Do you think it would work with rice flour? I have a little friend who is gluten intolerant and was wondering if this would work.

  • Ashu July 27, 2012, 8:24 am

    Thanks Rashmie for such a wonderful sensory play idea,i read this article yday and wanted to enjoy K same,even at her school Sensory skill is topic of the month.You won’t believe she is enjoying it so much that while sleeping yday,she told me that she wanted to redo it today also.She asked me about the idea where i got from i told her about u and Pari,showed her blog pics too.

    Thanks again .

  • Annie August 2, 2012, 9:06 am

    I’ve been subscribed to your blog for some time now, but just had the chance to catch up on your last several posts. I made a big batch of cloud dough a few months ago – during our winter, when we couldn’t get outside as we normally do. I put it in a big, shallow box, set it on the floor on top of a sheet, and let the kids at it. My daughter (5yo) tended to make shapes, “cooking” type things, patterns… and my boys (4yo and 3yo) had a blast with their small construction loaders, bulldozers, dump trucks, and so on. A great project & easy to clean up.

  • Mary September 19, 2012, 12:43 am

    Great activity! Thank you for sharing.

  • Lana November 29, 2012, 12:27 am

    I blogged about your cloud dough experience at http://365daysofmotherhood.blogspot.nl/2012/11/cloud-dough-and-measuring-cups.html

    It surely is a wonderful sensory play isn’t it? :)


  • Lisha January 22, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Hi Rashmie, thank you for this great idea/pictorial! I really enjoyed making cloud dough today and playing with my 18-mon-old (who was occupied for a good half hour!!) and can’t wait to introduce it to my 7 year old when he’s back from school…:-)

    I haven’t read many Indian women bloggers who blog on parenting (If I am not mistaken, yours is the first or second!), so congratulations for the detailed writeup…I am passionate about parenting as well and though I am a published writer and author with 4 children’s books to my credit, I currently focus on my parenting page on Facebook. It would be great to have you visit and say Hello to us at http://www.facebook.com/ConsciousParentingApproach – see you there and keep up the good work!!

    • Rashmie January 26, 2013, 10:16 am

      Hi Lisha – happy to ‘meet’ you and congratulations for the books that you’ve written for children. I’d love to know the name of the titles so we can explore.
      I visited and ‘liked’ your facebook page. Good stuff there.
      Let’s keep this connection going. :-)

  • Clifford October 31, 2013, 1:01 am

    I needed to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every little
    bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new stuff you post…

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