Have you heard of cloud dough? Freida's been finding this stuff sensorially delicious since I discovered a recipe for it online last winter. It keeps her busy forever! This time of year, when it's practically too dark to play outside by the time the kids get home from school, it's nice to have a repertoire of things up your sleeve to keep kids interested, busy, and happy until dinner. I will warn you; this is a messy one. But it will keeps your kids happily occupied for eons longer than plain ol' playdough!
Cloud Dough is made by mixing 8 parts flour with 1 part oil. The original cloud dough recipe calls for baby oil (which works much better and also has the double sensory aspect of scent), but my kids are allergic to artificial fragrances and additives so we went with canola oil which worked as well (you can always through in a couple drops of natural essential oil for the olfactory element). You can make this with 4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of oil, but I'd recommend depleting your flour supply and using 8 cups flour and 1 cup oil - you're going to end up wanting more once it's been mixed. And the kids will be pining for you to make another batch.
The texture of this concoction is so magically cloud-like! At first it seems crumbly like strudel topping in your hands, then it's perfectly moldable like freshly-wet sand, and then it falls once more into a floury heap of left behind cookie-dough. The joys!
Freida loved playing bakery with it all year long (what else is new?) - so I set her up with bowls, spoons, measuring cups and spoons, silicone cupcake holders, playdough pizza cutters etc.. But since the texture is so interesting you really don't need much at all to enjoy it. Just set up a bucket of this stuff over a drop cloth in the kitchen and let them go at until the dinner bell rings!