It's even a rare event to get paints out here, they have free access to pens and crayons etc but paint is an entirely different ball game, especially as The Toddler appears to lose interest after five minutes anyway.
So, at some point today I lost the threads of my fraying sanity and decided to make some 'cloud dough', i'm sure if you have a lunchtime fling with Google you'll be inunindated with recipes and ideas for this ...erm...stuff.
I used 6 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil. You simply combine them that really is all there is to it. I told you it was simple. I added some yellow food colouring with some perverse nod to to the weather, thinking we'd have our own beach play despite the snow and ice outside.
It will look like a rather lumpy dough, not to worry, this is exactly how it's supposed to look. No really. I'm absolutely not shitting you.
However, when you touch it (unfortunately a necessity. Balls.) it has the feel of wet sand, if it wasn't for the fact it gets under my nails and into my jewelry the texture would have been delightfully cathartic to play with) The Toddler found it fiendishly exquisite or at least he did after I managed to encourage him to not be a wuss like me and do away with the spoon.
With the aid of a pot it was sand castle time! He remained rather conservative with his efforts at first, yet soon lost all sense of reservation and it was cloud dough everywhere, and I mean everywhere. This alien creation in our abode was so enticing that even Thing Two begged to play
I was decidedly impressed with the longevity of it's attention holding spell, it was nigh bewitching to them, which almost made it worth while. Yes, almost Remember me saying it was messy? That was a horrific understatement, the bloody stuff gets everywhere. I even found the wretched stuff on my jeans clad arse. How? Clothes, floor you name it it had been utterly cloud doughed. Thing Two tried to escape for a wee, treading it all over the carpet en route. Argh. What a catastrophe. It was even in The Toddlers eyebrows. So operation clean up involved stripping them both down and me sweeping and wiping whilst it seemed to breed and multiply before my very eyes with The Toddler helpfully singing 'clean up, clean up, everybody clean up!' only everybody wasn't cleaning up, just me. Finally an impromptu bath, sometimes it really is the easiest option.
Did they love it? absolutely. Was it easy to make? Ridiculously so. Cheap? cheap as chips. Would I make it again? Are you shitting me? Maybe once a year, with them in the nud, outside, at someone elses house. Possibly.
I think in future a little more planning may be a good idea, perhaps one for summer and the garden. That's the entirety of my creative maternal inspiration exhausted for another few months now. Even i'm not masochistic enough to do messy play routinely, afterall that's what The Grandparents and (eventually) Nursery are for, right?