Cloud Dough ~ A New Outside Favorite

Cloud Dough

I am certainly not the first one to share this and I honestly cannot remember the very first blog I saw it on.  Cloud Dough is floating around Pinterest everywhere {here’s the search for Cloud Dough so you can see the various ideas}!  I ignored it for a LONG time.  Why?  The MESS!  Then one day I decided it would make  great outside fun. 

We have a seasonal campsite for our camper this year, so I brought the ingredients and we made it together up there! Look how excited they were!

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What are the ingredients?  Get ready, it is SUPER complicated {joking}.

  • 8 parts flour
  • 1 part oil {we used baby, but you can use others}

Isn’t that tough?  We used 8 cups flour/1 cup oil for what you see below.

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All 3 kids played with this for hours!

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These two have continued to play.  We made this batch back in May and now in July it is still up at our camper and we get it out whenever we go!  Cloud Dough -4336


Krash usually adds cars to play with, Ladybug adds Little Pet Shops!

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I wish I would have tried Cloud Dough sooner, a BIG thank you to whoever came up with this idea long ago. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend trying it, but do it outside!  It’s a mess!

Bury It! Fun with Phonics


A simple bin filled with rice has provided my kids with hours and hours of entertainment. This is by far their favorite “sensory bin” and it is the easiest one I have made! Burying things in rice and digging them back out again is attractive to most kids, which is where the bury it idea came from for my ABC Find It! activity.

Recently Ladybug has really been enjoying this rice bin for another use, burying her mini alphabet collection objects and digging them out again!

I keep our mini letter objects in a plastic drawer system I got at Home Depot {I think} and it randomly fit inside of a canvas box my mom had {no clue where it came from}. I got the idea for creating a mini drawer set from Counting Coconuts years ago! I won’t bother explaining it all, since she did such a great job, visit her blog for details!


Each week I pull out the little drawer and use it along with our ABC Basket.


The whole burying idea came from Ladybug and once she started, she has asked to do it every week since, with her new mini collection. Sometimes I have bigger items in her ABC Basket and she will add those in too.


She is pretty specific about it being animals and tiny objects, no actual letters are allowed, although I always try!

All sorts of learning happens with the burying, we do tons of oral phonics work while we play together, it really is so simple and she learns so much.


Eventually we will take things up a notch and combine 2 or more sets of objects and sort them. I have always done this {with my boys}, but never with the rice bin! The rice adds a simple element of fun and attraction for her and entices her to want to work on phonics skills with me. Most of the time she has no clue she is even learning, she is just playing in the bin!


Note: Ladybug has never put small objects in her mouth {none of my kids did as tots/babies, which shocks me}, and she is very good at keeping the rice contained. Krash on the other hand, would have had it everywhere at this age! Use rice with discretion {and a blanket/sheet}!

Fairies & Flowers Sensory Bin

I am a big fan of taking toys we already have and creating learning experiences from them. I love to expand on the natural interests of my young kids and use those interests to make early learning more fun and engaging.  Ladybug’s love of her fairies is my latest example of this.  She is working through her Fairy Printable Pack right now and also enjoying a Fairies & Flowers Sensory Bin!

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She got a fairy set  {it was a big set from Target, I can’t find a link to the one we got} for Christmas so I used them as my fairies, but I also saw these online that are cute too! I looked through our sensory bin small item collections and decided to add mini foam flowers, shiny rocks, mini butterfly erasers and heart/star/flower links {those are from Dollar Tree}.

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On a special theme week, I allow all of the toys within that theme in the schoolroom also, as a special treat.  You can see her fairy house {we got ours at Toys R Us for $30 on sale at Christmas time} and was a part of our play time too.

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Lots of simple learning happens with our sensory bins, below you can see we made colored beds for the fairies.  We sorted, counted, made patterns and enjoyed imaginative play together!

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Krash is almost 7 and still LOVES our bins.  He always finds a way to enjoy them, even if they are a bit “girly” he could care less!  Below you can see his rock pond, complete with flower lily pads for the frogs to jump around on.

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Looking for more Fairy fun? 

If you haven’t read the Montessori Minute post about sensory play, be sure to read that to see why these bins are so wonderful for kids! See a Behind the Scenes look at Sensory Bin play with videos here!

Use this button to jump to all of my Sensory Bin posts anytimeimage_thumb1

Dinosaur Sensory Bin


Dinosaur Theme Sensory Bin

Along with our RRSP Letter D week, we included DINOSAURS! Ladybug loves dinos, and we have never had a dinosaur sensory bin, so I put one together for the kids! Here is the dino set up we had, complete with our collection of dinosaur books and all of the dinos we have!

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A few of the books we have and the toy bin we have…


Both of the boys enjoy the sensory bins immensely, they are still a big hit around here!

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Ladybug loves our dino collection, and was thrilled that they were allowed into the schoolroom for the week {they are normally located elsewhere to play with}.Dinosaur Theme Sensory Bin-9700


Included in the bin itself:

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  • rocks {from a craft store, and our colored rock collection}
  • beans
  • plastic dino toys from our dino set {the small ones}
  • scooping & sorting materials {I put these next to the bin}

More Dinosaur Fun…

If you haven’t read the Montessori Minute post about sensory play, be sure to read that to see why these bins are so wonderful for kids! See a Behind the Scenes look at Sensory Bin play with videos here!

Use this button to jump to all of my Sensory Bin posts anytimeimage_thumb1

Sensory Bin Games

We have had a Christmas Sensory Bin for years now and it is always a favorite.  The bin itself begins with only the red/green base of items. The fun little Christmas additions come out one a day until they are all in the bin!

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    The Christmas Sensory Bin gets the most play by far, of any sensory bins we do.  The daily surprise factor is probably the reason.  I also am very intentional about playing some little games with the kids during the Christmas season too.  Here are a couple of the games we play together. You can play these with any sensory bin, not just a Christmas theme!

    Listen Carefully!

    Listen Carefully Sensory Bin Game

    I get out a few items, 2 of each thing.  This game I photographed I happened to be playing with Krash, age 6, so this is on his level.  With Ladybug I only use two very opposite sounding items. 

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    Take one set of the items and put them into a stocking {or other container in which the items can’t be seen}.
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    Leave the other set of items on the floor for a visual reminder of what is inside {for older kids, don’t do this, make them use their memory!}.  Secretly reach into the stocking and grab one of the items and place it in a metal {or other hard} container that closes securely. 
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    Have your child shake the container and listen to guess what is inside!
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    Then have your child pick up the item they think it is…Christmas Sensory Bin-5116
      Then open the container to check!
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    Feel & Find

    Same layout as above, except you get another stocking {or something similar} and have your child reach in and guess by feeling. 

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    Variations of the game ~

    • Challenge your child to find something specific, find something you describe {to work on listening skills and vocabulary} ex: “I am thinking of something smooth, cool, and small” {a small gem}.
    • Put 5-10 different items in the stocking but don’t tell your child what any of them are.  Have your child feel around and when s/he thinks he can identify and object just by feeling have him guess aloud and then pull it out to check!  To be sure my kids don’t “cheat” I have them find a matching object from the sensory bin and lay it on the ground in front of them before they pull it out to check.
    • For a younger child, put in just a few very different items and lay matching objects out and have her pull one out and match it.  If she can guess before pulling it out, great!  If not, just have her match once it is out!

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    A few other ideas for play ~

    Hide and Seek ~ play a simple game of hides and seek with the items.  One person hides a few objects and the other finds them!

    Sorting ~ Match together all of like items in various combinations.  This is still a favorite thing with all of my kids.

    Counting ~ this is pretty obvious, but be sure to work on 1:1 correspondence with young kiddos.  Have them touch the objects one at a time as they count.

    Patterning ~ again a simple concept.  Be sure to introduce more complex patterns as they get older!

    If you haven’t read the Montessori Minute post about sensory play, be sure to read that to see why these bins are so wonderful for kids!  See a Behind the Scenes look at Sensory Bin play with videos here!

    Use this button to jump to all of my Sensory Bin posts anytimeSensory Bins

    Looking for more Christmas Sensory Bins?  Living Montessori now has a great collection post!