You only need two main ingredients to make silky smooth, homemade Cloud Dough – cornstarch and conditioner – then you can color it however you’d like!
Sometimes referred to as Moon Dough, this no cook sensory material recipe is great for big kids who are past the “putting stuff in their mouth” phase. It’s so much fun to play with and has a unique fluffy texture.
When I first started making it for my kids, it would keep them entertained for hours. I hope your kids have hours of fun with this soft cloud dough too!
Homemade Cloud Dough
- 1 cup hair conditioner
- 2-3 cups cornstarch
- Mica or food coloring - optional
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- Silicone spatula
- Mixing spoon
- Put the conditioner in a large bowl with about 1 cup of cornstarch and mix until well combined. Add in a second cup and mix, scraping the sides as you go to be sure it’s all incorporated. At this point, you'll probably need to use your hands to get it totally combined. If it's still sticky, add a little more corn starch at a time until you get the Cloud Dough to a consistency you like (it shouldn’t feel sticky, but shouldn’t crumble either). If it gets too dry, add more conditioner.
- Next, it’s time to make colorful cloud dough. Once you’re happy with the texture, decide how many different colors you want to make and divide the dough accordingly. We made 6 colors in this batch, so we divided the Cloud Dough into 6 equal portions. Once they’re divided up, slowly add in mica powder or food coloring until you’re happy with the color.
- After you’re done coloring the Cloud Dough, it's immediately ready to be played with! If your kids tend to be messy, it's great to let them play either outside or on a plastic table cloth (like the type you get at dollar stores).
Tips for Making Cloud Dough
Making your own homemade cloud dough? Here are all the tips and tricks you need!
1. Does it matter what type of conditioner you use?
No, you can use any hair conditioner you like. The reason the amount of cornstarch in this recipe is a range is because different conditioners will need slightly different amounts of corn starch to get the right consistency.
2. Can I use lotion instead?
If you don’t have conditioner, you can also use lotion as an alternative ingredient to make cloud dough.
3. Can you use soap colorant?
We have tried using soap colorant when making cloud dough and we didn’t like the end result. It was a bit more watery and less colorful using soap colorant than it was food coloring (gel is best) or mica powder.
4. Can I make a smaller batch?
Yes, just cut the recipe in half (or quarter it even) for a smaller amount.
5. How to store Cloud Dough?
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then store in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature.
6. How long does Cloud Dough last?
This recipe doesn’t last a long time as it dries out quickly, so don’t make more than you think your kiddos will play with in about a week.
7. Can Cloud Dough be rehydrated?
When it dries out, you can usually add in a little extra conditioner to remoisturize it. This will work a few times, but after a while you’ll need to make a new batch.
8. Is this Cloud Dough recipe safe for little kids?
If your kid still puts stuff in their mouth, this recipe isn’t a good option. Since conditioner isn’t edible, neither is this cloud dough, making it more appropriate for a big kid. Be sure to keep out of reach of small children to avoid accidental ingestion.
One way you can allow little kids to play with cloud dough is to put it inside sealed Ziploc bags (it’s best if you can glue them shut). Then you can supervise your little one while they press and squeeze the dough inside the sealed bag.
9. More ways to use cloud dough?
While it’s fun to play with cloud dough all on its own, there are lots of creative ways to use it too.
- Put in a sensory bin with other items for play time.
- Use cookie cutters to make pretend cookies for a tea party or learn about shapes.
- Play with it on play dough mats.
- Make fun shapes like this rainbow!
10. Want more recipes for sensory activities?
While I love traditional play doughs, I love creating unique sensory play experiences for kids. Here are some other popular DIYs:
- Moon Sand (similar to kinetic sand; typically made with flour and baby oil)
- Glitter Slime (classic slime recipe)
- Fake Snow (that feels cold to the touch!)