Can An Igloo Be Created Out of Cloud Dough?
This is the question our 6 yr old asked recently. So we decided to find out.
Here's a recipe for cloud dough if you need one. It's very easy and inexpensive to make.
Cloud dough is fantastic because it can be used by young children as well as those a bit older ... okay ... a lot older as I love playing with it too!
Here's what happened when we gave the cloud dough to our 6 yr old.
He decided to make an igloo. After all, the dough does look a bit like snow. Well, it does when you live in Queensland, Australia, where there is no snow at all. :o
I was amazed that such a structure could be formed with basically just flour and a little bit of oil.
Here's How This Igloo Shape was Created.
- Use an ice cube tray to make the building blocks.
- Next step - turn the ice cube tray upside down and tip out the blocks.
- Now it's time to start building the igloo structure
This is just like building a sandcastle at the beach. The key, however, is that you need to push the cloud dough down firmly so that the blocks have a little more strength.
Pressing the cloud dough into the ice cube trays is a great activity for strengthening muscles in hands and fingers as it takes a bit of pressure to compact the cloud dough.
The trick is to use the shape of the ice cubes to help build the structure. The narrower end of the cube needs to point into the centre of the structure.
Working out which side is narrower is great for developing visual discrimination.
At first, we just placed the blocks on top of each other. However, we later discovered that the structure had more strength if the blocks were staggered in the same way a brick wall is built (i.e., the second row is placed half a brick along so that the middle of the block is positioned over the gap between the blocks underneath it).
Because of the shape of the ice cubes, it's easy to create a circular shape which leans inwards.
While we didn't actually manage to get a roof on the structure, we were very happy with what we'd created. Also, no roof meant that the 'penguins' inside could easily be moved out. :o) That's our excuse, anyway.
So what skills are children using when they engage in this activity?
- Visual discrimination - examining the shape of the cubes and identifying which side is the narrowest
- Problem solving - working out how to put the structure together
- Hand-eye coordination - manipulating the blocks into position
- Maths - working the blocks in a pattern
- Small muscle control - moving the delicate blocks and placing them in the correct position without breaking them
- Creativity - designing the structure
What sort of things have your children fashioned out of cloud dough? We'd love to hear.
Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.