Playtime Pinspiration: SnowdoughPosted: 20/01/2013
The whole country seems to be covered in snow at the moment. According to the news, there are piles of the stuff everywhere. Friends are posting pictures on Facebook of all the fun they are having in it. My parents have been virtually snowed in, unable to move their car off the driveway. In typical UK fashion, the snowfall has brought the country pretty much to a standstill – all except in my home town, where we have had a few flakes at the most.
I am feeling sorry for myself. I want snow! I want to take ToddlerGirl out in it and experience her reaction to the cold stuff. I want to make snow angels with her, build a snowman, crunch around in it. (Yes, I am stamping my feet as I type!)
“Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “if I can’t wish the snow here, [trust me, I’ve been trying very hard and it hasn’t worked] perhaps I can create some instead…!” As I was pondering the best way to make some fake snow-like material, I came across The Imagination Tree’s brilliant post on SNOWDOUGH on Pinterest. Perfect!
Also known as cloud-dough, snowdough is really easy to make using just cornflour and oil (and optional glitter!). Find the full recipe on The Imagination Tree here. It’s soft and sort of loose – that is, it doesn’t all stick together in one lump like playdough but it can still be moulded into shapes. It looked and sounded wonderful and I was convinced.
I had cornflour, yay! I didn’t have any vegetable oil but I thought olive oil would work just as well. So I made a small batch for ToddlerGirl and I to play with. It didn’t really turn out quite right to begin with. This is probably entirely down to the fact that I did not follow the quantities on The Imagination Tree at all. I didn’t want to use up loads of cornflour until I felt confident we would get good value out of the snowdough. So I tried to scale down the quantities using guesswork, which always works really well for me… (OK, I should have got D in to help me do this a bit more logically!) After a bit of fiddling, though, adding some more cornflour here and some more oil there, I had what I felt reasonably resembled the description and pictures on The Imagination Tree – apart from the fact that my snowdough was not a wonderfully crisp and clean white. Humph. It had a distinctly yellow tinge (I won’t dwell on what yellow snow usually means). Needless to say, substituting olive oil probably did not work just as well. I had flashbacks to school home economics lessons with the teacher berating me for believing I could substitute my own ingredients willy-nilly, or even omit some altogether. It appears I have not learnt from these lessons. But actually, it didn’t really matter as ToddlerGirl doesn’t know what colour snow is meant to be at the moment, so it didn’t affect our enjoyment of it at all. And a liberal sprinkling of silver glitter worked wonders.
This stuff has the weirdest texture. I’m not quite sure I like it. It’s sort of dry and crunchy and flakey but you can squish it all together to make shapes. I have a bit of a thing about touching dry cotton wool and snowdough reminded me of how I feel about that!
ToddlerGirl didn’t have any such reservations, however, and was immediately fascinated by it. We haven’t done that much with playdough yet but we definitely will be, as she loved this. She rolled it between her fingers, lifted it, dropped it and generally got stuck in. I sat back and watched her play with it for a while before showing her how to make some snowballs. This was a bit beyond her, so I made a pile for her and then we had fun rolling them around, stacking them up to make snowmen and snowball towers, and of course squashing them completely. That was probably ToddlerGirl’s favourite thing to do with them! After a while, I added a few of her megablox to stamp onto the snowdough to make patterns (and she enjoyed stuffing as much snowdough as possible into the hollow bases of the bricks!)
We got a lot of mileage out of my small batch of snowdough. ToddlerGirl didn’t even try to eat any of it, although as there are only two kitchen ingredients used, I was pretty relaxed about her tasting some. The only downside is it’s a tad fiddly to clean up. I’d kept it all contained by putting ToddlerGirl in her highchair and spreading a plastic mat underneath. I can imagine finding little clumps of snowdough here and there long after it has been cleaned away, though. Plus D wasn’t very happy to see streaks of the stuff on our back porch after I’d shaken out the plastic floor mat! It seems that cornflour globs take a while to wash away in the rain…
Small cleaning issues notwithstanding, we will definitely be playing with this again. I’ve put it away in a tub in the fridge to bring out over the next week or so – basically whenever I start to feel jealous at the abundant snowfall over the rest of the country. It may not be quite as fun as real snow, but it’s not as cold either. Thank you The Imagination Tree for a fantastic Playtime Pinspiration!