Ocean Moon Dough

We only recently discovered Moon Dough, but boy have we become obsessed with it! The kids just love the texture and sensory experience. Plus it has given us a new, quick and easy, project for the senses when we don’t want to do slime or oobleck. This week we took our special collection of shells and created the most amazing Ocean Moon Dough.

Ocean Moon Dough Recipe with Sea Shells

A child holds a handful of ocean blue moon dough with sea shells. Overlay text says Ocean Moon Dough An Extra Silky Recipe for Summer Sensory Play

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Have you ever made Moon Dough? It is the most magnificent stuff. I know kids like slime and Oobleck is utterly fascinating, and play dough is always a great stand by, but for my money, Moon Dough is the best.

What is so special about Moon Dough? Well it is super fast and easy to make. But it also feels amazing. So silky and satisfying. You can let it slip and slide through your fingers or squish it together and make shapes, or just run your hands through the bowl feeling it move like silk across your skin. It’s honestly just wonderful.

Moon dough is one of my personal favourite sensory experiences. Yes, even I enjoy playing with it to help calm and centre myself.

Have you checked out our Glow in the Dark Moon Dough?

On a black background irregular shaped balls of moon dough are glowing orange, blue, green and yellow. Overlay text says Rainbow Glow Moon Dough

The Story of Ocean Moon Dough

This week we made a batch of what we affectionately dubbed, Ocean Moon Dough. We coloured it a beautiful blue, then added our collection of sea shells. These shells have been collected over many years on various vacations to beaches all over. But this year we are not going on a vacation or visiting a beach, and this was making us a little sad. So we decided to bring a bit of the beach to us!

And it was perfect!

Ocean blue moon dough in a child's hand. Overlay text says Ocean Moon Dough

How To Make Ocean Moon Dough Recipe

Ingredients & Supplies

1/2 cup Potato Starch
1/2 cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil 
Polysorbate 80
Food Colouring
Sea Shells
Large bowl
Microwave safe cup
Measuring Cups

Quick video on how to make Moon Dough

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Moon Dough Directions

Start by adding 1/2 cup of potato starch and 1/2 cup of flour to a large bowl. Mix.

Now melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave. Heat just until it turns liquid. Then add food colouring. I found about 6 drops gave me a nice vibrant dough, but you can adjust to your preference.

Try stirring and you will notice it doesn’t mix. The food colouring floats in little balls in the oil. We can fix this by using emulsifiers. In this case we are using Polysorbate 80, the same emulsifier we use when making Bath Bombs.

Add about half a teaspoon of polysorbate 80 to the oil and stir again. Notice how the oils now blend with the food colouring creating a gorgeous blue oil.

Pour the coloured oil in with the starch and flour. Mix with a spoon or your hands. Work it all together until it is blended and starts to mold and hold shapes like wet sand.

For the final step in our Ocean Moon Dough, you need to add some sea shells. If you don’t have sea shells, some little shark or fish toys work well too. Now you are ready to play!

A bowl of ocean blue moon dough with sea shells, ready for playing

The Science of Emulsifiers and Silky Moon Dough

So what makes our moon dough recipe special? Well it addresses a couple of things. The first is that we discovered while experimenting with Oobleck recipes that potato starch makes for an incredibly silky smooth sensory experience. By using it in our recipe here, we are dramatically increasing the luxurious texture of our moon dough.

The second facet is the struggle so many face when trying to make coloured moon dough, the water based colourants do not mix with the oil. Any child can tell you that water and oil don’t mix. Making moon dough is a wonderful demonstration of this property.

However there is something we can use that overcomes this struggle, it is called an emulsifier. In our activities such as making bath bomb and moon dough, we use an emulsifier called polysorbate 80. It’s like this magical little ingredient that makes oil and water suddenly embrace each other, letting you mix them up into some gorgeous colours.

Enjoy moon dough and the wonderful science sensory experience!

Beach Code Breakers Printable

Continue the beach themed fun with this Code Breakers activity. Crack the code and reveal some beach themed art. This free printable is available to all STEAM Powered Family mailing list members. Simply enter your email in the form to join and unlock your printable.

Ocean blue moon dough in a bowl and a child's hand. Overlay text says Ocean Moon Dough An Extra Silky Recipe for Summer Sensory Science

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