laugh, explore, create!

We love cloud dough!

This week the Little ARTventurers have been loving the cloud dough as part of our “Build it!” theme and the babies always love it too. It’s dead easy to make and can provide hours of sensory creative fun!

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You might well be wondering what the heck “cloud dough” is! It’s flour and oil mixed (well, rubbed) together to form a consistency that’s kind of like very soft sand. It’s a bit like that Moon Sand stuff in that you can squish it, squidge it, mould it, scoop it…then smash it all up and start again!

Quantities wise – I put a bag of flour (just the plain value stuff is fine) into a large bowl or box and add a big glug of vegetable oil which I then stir and rub into the flour. You’ll know when you’ve got it to the right consistency as it will be mouldable but still soft and not at all sticky. If it’s too dry just add a little more oil

You can add glitter for sparkle (not for the babies though!) – you can also colour it with powdered paint but then obviously I wouldn’t use it for babies when coloured. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to colour it with food colouring – it just clogs up.

Leave it in a box or tip into a tray – provide scoops, cups, people, trucks, pans….whatever you like…have fun!

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At Little ARTventurers at Ashbrooke this morning we broke out the bubbles – popped some music on and the children had a whale of a time chasing them, popping them, dancing and trying to catch them! Any kind of activity involving bubbles is always a huge hit, from babies through to big kids (and grown ups too – don’t try and deny it!), and it got me thinking about the benefits of bubble play for babies and young children………

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1. Bubbles can help to develop visual tracking skills

Watch where the bubbles are coming from and where they’re going – follow the bubbles with your eyes! Are they going fast or are they floating slowly?

2. Bubbles aid sensory development

How do they feel? Wet and slimy? A bit sticky? Soft?

3. Bubbles can help develop social and communication skills

Asking for more bubbles, developing eye contact, turn taking, developing awareness of other children in a group and not knocking into each other or puching!

4. Bubbles can help develop gross motor skills

Moving, stamping, jumping, reaching, stretching, popping…..

5. Bubbles can help develop fine motor skills

For slightly older children – the dexterity needed to grasp the bubble wand and place it into the bubble container and then pull it out again – tricky! For littlies – popping bubbles, clapping bubbles, catching bubbles…..

6. Bubbles can help develop oral motor skills

Huff and puff and blow the bubbles as they float down. Blow the bubbles using the bubble wand – great exercise for little mouths!

7. Bubbles can help develop hand eye coordination

Link up what the hands and eyes are doing – see the bubble, track, move hand and pop! Or watching carefully while trying to get the bubble wand covered in mixture – not an easy thing to do!

8. Bubbles can help develop language and cognitive skills

Where are the bubbles coming from? Are they big or small? Slow or fast? Pop, clap, in front, behind, up and down……where have the bubbles gone?

9. Bubbles can help develop mathematical skills

Simple counting – 1, 2, 3…..what shape are they?

10. Bubbles can help to calm and relax

The deep breathing needed to blow the bubbles. And simply watching the bubbles floating overhead and down to the ground – never fails to bring out the smiles!