As much as I love setting up little play invitations for Grae, many activities are initiated by Gracen and come about organically. This morning, as I was answering birthday calls (hello, 31), Miss G found a box of craft goodies we had carried in from the car and left in a heap at the front door (we got in late last night and after what’s supposed to be a 5 hour trip turned into an 8 hour trip, there was little energy left for unpacking things) and immediately gravitated towards the many little pouches of buttons I had stowed away. Having been given the okay nod from me, she started slowly unzipping the pouches one by one and emptying the contents into the bamboo dish that normally houses our remotes.
Such fun. The colours, shapes, sizes, and zipping kept her happily busy for a good portion of the morning while I slowly worked on unpacking things.
Later in the day, as I began gathering dinner ingredients, she came across a couple of clean ice cube trays waiting to be filled and frozen on the counter. I’m not sure what inspired her, but she quickly left the kitchen and returned with her bowl of buttons and the creamer cup from her tea set. Brilliant. I don’t think I could have come up with a better ice cube tray activity on the spot if I tried. I retrieved a blanket, she spread her things out, and happily played until dinner was ready.
I may be discovering new runaway buttons around the house for the next week or two, but having an hour to cook and wash dishes while my girl happily plays independently is well worth the pick up.
Today we gathered up some supplies, transferred the rice we dyedyesterday into a bin, and headed out into the backyard for some fun.
Gracen helped me pick out the items to add to our rainbow rice sensory bin. We kept things pretty simple today… Spoons, containers, cups, and a teapot (hmm… I wonder whose selection that was!)
First job – take everything out and get those colours mixed together!
The result? Rainbow rice!
Next job – filling up every single container in sight.
And then things got wild. For a while, it was raining rice, and shortly after the whole bucket tipped over, Grae still inside. The good thing was that Miss G found picking it all up and putting it back in the bin just as fun as dumping it in the first place.
I’d been waiting a long time to show Gracen the magic that is moon dough, and today was the perfect day. It just so happened we had white flour in the house and I randomly came across a half bottle of baby oil when organizing the bathroom cabinets… So it was kind of meant to be. Plus, it was plenty warm to be outside doing something messy, but not so beautiful that you wished you were sitting on the beach or beside an outdoor pool. Gracen helped me make the moon dough first, and then I transferred it into one of our empty sensory bins, gathered some fun stuff from around the kitchen, and brought everything into the backyard.
Gracen had wanted to get her hands into the dough from the time we started mixing the oil into the flour, so she was more than ready to get started.
She began by filling up the bowl and silicon baking cups one spoonful at a time and patted each one down when full, just as she does when making sandcastles at the beach. She quickly decided that the straws were the perfect ‘cake’ toppers. She’d carefully place them in one container, take a sideways glance, then move them to another, as if she were trying to get it just right. Turns out, the big bowl was the best place for all of them.
And though filling up the containers was fun in itself, she was extremely pleased with the discovery that she could tip them over to make little moon dough castles. (While the plastic bowl was harder, the silicon baking cups were perfect for this because she could give them a little squeeze and the castle would pop right out.) Of course smashing the castles was just as much fun as making them.
Next, we tried making some balls. She loved the finished product, but got frustrated with the fact that she couldn’t make them independently.
It didn’t matter too much though because in no time, she’d pushed all of the moon dough over to one side of the bin and started playing one of her very favourite sandbox games – ‘Where are Gracen’s hands?’
While the dough was all over on one side, we tried something else too – making imprints. Gracen pressed in the spoons and cups, and then we tried the same with our hands.
The best part though, happened when she got busy with the cookie cutters. She was fully enjoying pressing them into the dough and seeing the outlines they created when this happened… Puzzling! It took her a second, but she figured out. She tried to make it happen again afterwards, but sadly, no luck.
Of course, she ended the sensory box experience in her usual way… You should have seen the look on her face as the silky smooth dough smushed up in between her toes. Pure delight!
This sensory bin was ridiculously fun. Grae played with it for almost an hour and I can see us revisiting it very soon. The only thing I might do differently next time is either add more moon dough or use a smaller container so that there is a thicker base in the bin. And although I may be brave enough to try it indoors on a very rainy day (on a giant blanket in the kitchen), I think I’d rather keep this one outside as it’s just as messy as it is fun.
This is something I’ve been planning to make with Gracen for a long while now and I’m so glad we finally tried it today. Moon dough, often also called cloud dough, is a silky, mouldable mixture of just two ingredients many families probably already have on hand. Fun and easy – love it!
To whip up your own batch of moon dough, all you need is some white flour, some baby oil, a mixing bowl, and a whisk.
Start by adding 8 parts flour into your bowl.
Then add 1 part baby oil.
Mix well, ensuring all the large clumps are broken up and the oil is evenly distributed through the flour.
When you’re done, the mixture will be light and fluffy and the clumps should be minimal. That’s it – so easy! Transfer it into a large bin and add some cups, moulds, straws, spoons, and cookie cutters for your little one(s) to use while exploring.
8 cups of white flour
1 cup of baby oil
Put the ingredients into a large bowl and mix really well. Store in an airtight container or bag for several months.