Desert Dough

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This week’s science studies had us visiting the desert and after seeing a similar recipe for “cloud dough” floating around Pinterest, I knew this (re-named by us!) “desert dough” would be a great sensory activity for our desert theme. Yes, playing in the sandbox would have worked too. . . but let’s be real. This hugely pregnant mama is just way too uncomfortable to brave the heat and humidity of Kentucky in August!

The Recipe

Desert Dough has just two ingredients:

  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 cup baby oil

(Side note: we ended up making two batches, and while the first batch with baby oil smelled much better, canola oil was a great substitute and yielded the same final results.) With your hands, mix the flour and oil in a shallow container until combined. Then let the kids at it!

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The “dough” has such an interesting texture. Dry, and silky. . . crumbly, yet packs well. My texture-sensitive child wasn’t so sure about touching it at first, but in the end all the kids dug in, had a great time, and stayed occupied for a long while.

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We played in the dough with desert animals. It’s so rewarding to hear kids applying their learning to play.

“Look! I’m burying the scorpion. Remember how we read that animals sometimes dig holes to keep themselves cool?”

“I’m making sand dunes.”

“Oh no! A sandstorm is coming!”

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Of course there was lots of non-desert play (read: goofing off) as well.

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I’m not going to lie–the dough was a bit messy. But thankfully, it’s dry so the clean-up was fairly quick and easy. (And left the kitchen smelling like a freshly bathed baby!)

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Sometimes creative mess drives me crazy and I’d rather just have the kids read about a desert (or whatever). Other times I fully embrace the mess since studies have shown kids learn best and retain most information when engaged in activities that use their senses (such as art, music, food tasting, or this sensory play with “desert dough”). Taking the time to seek out creative projects to go along with our studies can be a lot of work, but I’m definitely seeing the theory play out in our own lives as the kids do seem to retain and apply the book knowledge more readily when we incorporate creative projects. Plus, it makes our day much more fun!

How do you feel about creative projects and messes?

Linked to SHINE Blog Hop

2 Comments on Desert Dough

  1. Donna
    December 1, 2015 at 3:28 am (2 months ago)

    Thanks so much my preschool class will love it.

  2. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
    August 30, 2014 at 5:52 pm (1 year ago)

    What a cool, simple, and fun sensory activity! You’re right, the mess is soooo worth the experience it gives your children.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.


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