Sensory play is any play that specifically engages the senses. Sensory Play is important because children learn and retain more information when they are able to use their senses (touch, smell, taste, see, or hear). You may notice that babies want to put things in their mouths often, and toddlers feel the need to touch everything in sight, that is their way of processing the things around them!
There is no right or wrong way to do sensory play, and while I love creating beautiful sensory bins for my daughter, they aren’t always extravagant! Sometimes it is as simple as some play dough on her table, or some water with bubbles. You see, the other thing about sensory play is it doesn’t have to be an expensive activity! It can be budget friendly and often I use items that I already have in my home.
In this post I want to talk about one of our favorite sensory bases to play with and how I create it with two simple ingredients I usually have in my pantry.
I am talking about DIY Sand, also known as Cloud Dough or Moon Sand. It is seriously amazing to play with because it is soft and feels amazing, but it also molds together easily to create shapes.
HOW TO MAKE DIY SAND FOR SENSORY PLAY
What you will need to make your own sand AKA cloud dough:
- 8 Cups of Flour
- 1 Cup of Oil (I typically use Vegetable oil but baby oil works as well)
- Food Coloring (optional)
You simply combine your flour with your choice of oil and mix. You can also add food coloring if you wanted to make colored sand. At first it may not seem like you have enough oil but just keep mixing and you will eventually get a consistency which clumps together but will also break apart easily.
We absolutely love playing with cloud dough. It cleans up rather easily as well and wipes up well with a wet cloth.
I have reused cloud dough for up to 3 days – but would recommend keeping it in a sealed container to keep it fresh. After a few days I usually toss it in my compost bin (if I didn’t use baby oil).
Check out how we have played with home made sand in a variety of ways:
To make my cloud dough look more like dirt (like in the farm play trays above) I just added a small amount of coco powder to the flour and oil mixture.
Have you made your own sand? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below!