Cloud Dough (or easy play sand)


There are a lot of blogs out there that are posting about Cloud Dough – a simple two ingredient mouldable ‘dough’ that is quick and easy to make for the kids.

The end product is a sand like substance.  ‘Cloud dough’ was tough for my toddler to say and didn’t really resonate for her so we ended up calling it ‘special sand’.

This is what only two cups of flour looks like in the mixture

Knowing how to make this stuff is great as you should already have the ingredients on hand, it takes like a minute to put together and easy to clean up.  Oh must note, the easy to clean up part is only if you do it OUTSIDE!!! Seriously, do this outside and don’t wear black…or any other dark colours.

Now as I said, many people have posted about this stuff already so I thought I’d put it to the Anyparent test and list all the pros and cons (and varieties!) to see if any parent really could do this.  But first up, how to make it!

What you’ll need:

  • Plain Flour (8 cups)
  • Baby Oil (1 cup)
  • Smelly oils (optional)
  • A mixing container (if not the tub you use for playing in)
  • A tub and some random kitchen implements to mould the dough.
  • A household brush to brush off any sand after playing

Putting it together

Put the flour in the tub and add the oil to it, pretty simple. Mixing by hand is the easiest and quickest method.   After it’s all mixed in, squeeze a bit in your hands to test how it keeps its shape.  Add a bit more oil if it’s not holding.

Eight cups of flour is quite a lot for any person to have already in the kitchen without having to go and buy it specifically. So you can break it down using that ratio for what you have in stock.

For one child 4 cups or even 2 cups may be enough. The first time I made this, I didn’t have a lot of flour on hand, what you see in the picture below is only 2 cups with 1/4cup of baby oil.  This amount turned out to be just great one child.

Dough for one!

Here is what eight cups of flour mixture looks like.  This was great for two kids in a much larger tub.





  • For Gluten free people – I’ve read a few blogs where they’ve used gluten free rice flour as the base for the dough.  Turns out just as good, if just a little gritty.
  • Coloured dough is possible although using standard food colouring drops doesn’t seem to work very well with this formula.  An alternative is to use another mixture:
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
    • 6 cups of flour
    • mix the food colouring into the water before mixing the rest of the ingredients
    • This blog used powdered paint and got a very vibrant mixture.
  • Using wholewheat flour can make the mixture look more sand like

Creation ideas

A dough cupcake!

A construction site!

Playing in an inflatable pool

Important Notes

Something I’ve not read on the countless blog posts about cloud dough is the toxicity of baby oil.  Generally not considered lethal, ingesting baby oil can cause breathing difficulties and vomiting.  If you’re really worried, use the vegetable oil version listed above.

Storage: The standard recipe dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can be stored in an airtight container to be used again.  Not sure how long it lasts though.

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