Fun Activities for Kids Stuck Inside: Foam Dough!

Friday, January 13, 2017
The announcement of a snow day used to be awesome! I could look forward to an extra day of sleeping in and getting caught up on my shows and reading or lesson planning.
Now that it means my two girls are home too? Not so much excitement. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and enjoy spending time with them. But a whole day of being stuck inside? With both of them? Oh, man-not the funnest for me!
By lots of trial and error (so much error...) I have found the best way for all of us to avoid going stir crazy is for me to have plans already made (because I am a teacher and there is no escape for planning!) for inclement weather days.

So, I thought I would start a post series for activities that I try out and their success (or failure, let's be real here!).

I have spent some time searching the internet for fun and easy activities for my littles. If you are interested, I have a great Pinterest board of activities that are good for the 5 and under crowd.
I also have a couple of books about activities, but my favorite (and the one I use most often) is
150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids which you can find on Amazon (fyi-not an affiliate link!).

Some tips for planning:
I have a storage box (actually 2!) full of craft materials that only come out on bad weather days. They are full of pipe cleaners, puff balls, googly eyes, paints and craft paper.
I buy the basic materials (dry pasta, salt, flour, baking soda, shaving cream, etc) in bulk when they are on sale.
I keep/hoard other materials that may come in handy (toilet paper rolls, plastic jars, etc)

All of these activities are little-to-no-cost, mostly made with things you already have on hand, and can be whipped up really fast. I usually plan two or three per day, and try to keep it to materials that can be used for several different activities.

For the first snow day, I picked out the Foam Dough! This stuff was a big hit! Super easy-just mix together equal parts shaving cream and cornstarch (1 cup :1 cup). I used washable liquid paints to color it, but you can also use liquid food coloring. I just wanted to ensure that any spills are washable!

We were able to make little snowmen, but mostly just mushed it around. This dough is not great for molding materials (we tried it with some play-dough parts, but it was not successful!) but has a really wonderful feel to it. It feels like what I would imagine playing in a giant pile of chocolate mousse (yum!) would feel like. She mostly just covered her animals in it and stomped them through it.

It starts out very fluffy, more like the shaving cream, but as you play with it, the stiffer it becomes. I imagine that is because the cornstarch is becoming more mixed in. Towards the end of play, it was easier to get through the play-dough extruder.

A big added bonus? This stuff is super easy to clean up! Since it is just shaving cream and cornstarch, it wiped up easily with a wet rag, washed off hands and was easy to brush off of our clothes!

All in all, fun was had, time was killed (around an hour and a half, from mixing to "I'm all done!") and mission was accomplished!

Don't forget to leave a message in the comments about your favorite indoor activity! I am always on the lookout for new ideas.....