Glitter Cloud Dough Beach Sensory Tub

I am officially in LOVE with Cloud Dough! It is one of the easiest play recipes to make, requiring only 2 ingredients from around the house, feels fabulous between the fingers, can be formed and moulded into shapes, is easy to clear up and lasts for ages! What a brilliant play substance! It really should have another name though as it’s really nothing like dough and every bit like silky, damp sand.
Ever since we made our mouldable sand a little while ago, I’ve been keen to make a larger batch of the cloud dough/ sand recipe to fill a sensory tub for more sustained play.

I’ve also really wanted to experiment with adding colouring to it, and I can officially say, it doesn’t work! * We used nearly half a bottle of purple and then one third of a bottle of pink colouring, and it mixes in just a tiny amount but won’t distribute throughout the whole. I’m guessing this is because of the oil since food colouring is water based and therefore won’t combine easily. Any other guesses? Interesting for experimentation! We DID add plenty of purple and red glitter and that dispersed beautifully, making the whole tub shimmer and shine as they played.

* edited to add:

We have since coloured it very successfully using powdered paints! See our pink cloud dough cup cakes here for  how-to!


  • 7 cups any type of flour (we used economy plain flour)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or baby oil (we used vegetable this time)
  • as much glitter as you wish!
Mix it all together until the oil is evenly dispersed throughout the flour. Use your hands. Thats’s it!

We tipped it into a large, shallow tub (we got some “boot boxes” in the supermarket this week that are a great size for sensory tubs!) Then we found some large and small shells of different shapes and colours, pebbles and driftwood.

Because of the nature of the sand/ dough, it is possible to make beautiful imprints from the shells.

And you can make gorgeous sand castles which can be decorated with shells, just like really being at the beach! C has been obsessively making little sandcastles ever since the tub was put together, and has been making up some wonderful stories about buried treasure and pirates!

This is much nicer to clean up than wet sand and softer too, although it feels and behaves very similarly.
Learning Links:
creativity: creating sculptures, moulds and impressions, decorating and pattern making using shells
literacy: language and storytelling development
sensory: explore new materials using all of the senses
fine motor: make balls, mounds and impressions using delicate pressure from the fingers, squeeze and sift through the dough

Cakie: 3 years 4 months
Pop: 21 months

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