Getting us in the mood to begin our Christmas crafting (even though to me it feels early to be starting, I know that the time from here to Christmas will fly) – I decided to spice up our cloud dough with a Christmas theme.
This is the second time we have played with cloud dough (you can read about the first here) and this cloud dough had kept beautifully for several weeks, in a sealed tupperware container. The basic cloud dough recipe is 8 parts flour to one part oil – we used baby oil. It looks like sand but the texture is silky, lovely and a bit addictive!
We added some Christmassy spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves, to scent the cloud dough – it smelt amazing! We also added red and green glitter, and some little Christmas ornaments.
We threw in some Christmas baking moulds and cookie cutters, plus spoons for digging and scooping. L and N couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
They filled the moulds and N decorated her Christmas tree with tiny ornaments.
They both enjoyed exploring and feeling the texture of the cloud dough, crumbling it and squidging it, discovering how it moulds.
Then decided to hunt for buried treasure, digging for the little ornaments.
Baby F did have a feel of the cloud dough, but I soon retired her to a box of christmas ornaments on the floor so that I could get on with dinner (one of the best things about L and N no longer being toddlers is that they don’t need that constant and direct supervision). F enjoyed watching them play and exploring some shiny baubles (she seemed surprised when they rolled away!), along with a felt Christmas stocking, and our winter themed discovery bottle.
This kept F entertained for quite a while (I suspect my life will get a bit more difficult when she is no longer happy not to join in L and N’s activity).
L asked if he could have some baubles to play with. I was just about to say “no, you’ve got plenty there”, when I corrected myself and said “yes, of course” – and was glad I did because he used them in a really inventive way, to make imprints in the cloud dough that acted as “moon craters”. A lesson for me – say yes unless there is a good reason not to, you might thwart their creativity without knowing it!
I also used this opportunity to remind them to practise co-operation, with the promise of a leaf on our kind hands tree for playing nicely together. I reminded them of the phrases they have practised using –
- “Please can I have it after you?”
- “Please could you help me?”
- “Have you finished with that?”
- “I was using that”
- “Please don’t do that”
Having been reminded of this before starting, and emphasising how special the activity is seems to work, I tried hard to notice and praise them every time I heard them co-operating and using their phrases. This is one of the reasons I am pleased with the location of the craft area right outside the kitchen, which was more by accident than design, being improvised in the lobby of our little house.
They did play reasonably happily with a couple of reminders!