Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cloud Dough

We made cloud dough!! [Don't pay attention to the dates on the pictures, I simply don't know how to use the darn camera to change it!] 

I came across this sensory experience on my adored Pinterest, of course, from a post from Glittering Muffins. While it is a sensory experience, by allowing the children to create it, it becomes a cross-subject educational experience as well.

Easy peasy: 4 C flour, 1/2 C oil

Glittering Muffins used baby oil, but since I have little ones that I could GUARANTEE would get it in their mouths, I used canola. Any cooking oil will work as well.  The girls felt the flour first and saw that it didn't hold together when smooshed.
I chose to have the girls use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. While they could have just scooped and dumped, the fine motor skills need to purposefully scoop and fill were a better use of the opportunity. They worked very carefully to try not to spill any flour. The first lesson we encountered was that the measuring cup has to be filled TO THE TOP before dumping it out onto the pan. I encountered this issue with both the girls, ages 3 & 2 1/2. It took more than one telling.
 We discussed the difference between the 1 cup and 1/2 cup measuring cups. Since I only had a glass liquid measuring cup, we just used the metal ones. I let them pour into the cup, over the pan, and held ready to grab it if a flood started, but they did fine.
 Glittering Muffins tried to color and scent their cloud dough with Kool-Aid, and when that didn't work after a couple of packets, she tried Jell-O. I can confirm her results that these are not worth time to just add to the mix. After two packets of Black Cherry, there was a bare hint of color and a touch of scent. I can also confirm her results that trying to add any type of liquid to color makes it grainy and harsh, so just let the kiddos enjoy their "cloud" dough as is. After all, clouds are white.

The girls mixed until together, then kneaded the dough into a powder. I found that if you rub it between your hands, you'll get the powder form back the quickest.
 While the dough was formable, it didn't hold together all THAT well. They used the play doh tools and toys with it, but most of the time was spent simply feeling it. Even the 10-year-old thought it felt, truly, like a cloud. He said is was probably the softest thing he'd ever felt.

Which led to the question, what IS the softest thing in the world. We found out that, "Talc is the softest mineral found on Earth, reaching just 1 on Mohs scale of hardness, it is often used to make talcum powder," via Planet Earth Facts for Kids.The chinchilla is the softest living thing.

Since both the girls made their own batches, until those are gone it will simply be a sensory experience, working fine motor skills, sense of touch and creativity. However, in the process of making it several key skills were incorporated:
  • Fine motor skills, especially in filling the measuring cup with the spoon
  • Gross motor skills, as they had to sit on their knees to get up high enough to reach into the flour bag, working hard on their balance to not spill as they reached back and forth
  • Math concepts of bigger/smaller, 1 cup and 1/2 cup, full vs not full, level vs not level
  • Science concepts of liquid vs solid, mixture, density
  • Language concepts using the above terms, along with soft, silky, smooth, etc. that we came up with
  • Social skills since they had to take turns using the materials to create their dough and wait patiently between 
  • Cooking skills of measuring, mixing, kneading
  • Five senses experiences, even though the Kool-aid didn't do much to the dough, it still smelled and added a bare hint of color to the process. Of course, the little ones, when they got into it, ate it. As I anticipated. So they got the taste factor in there.
The children gave this activity a rating of:

Tags: toddler, sensory, cloud dough, recipe, craft, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, childcare, daycare, homeschool



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