It’s raining again today. August and raining. And you know what? I don’t mind one bit. I’m a true Vancouverite, I suppose, but to me there’s something supremely comforting about hearing rain drops hitting my rooftop. I live for sweater weather. Even Little Bear can’t wait to pull on his rain boots at the first sign of rain clouds!
BUT. What do you do when it’s pouring rain all morning? No more gallivanting to the beach or the park. No sunny picnics. No playground play dates. And do you know what that means for Little Bear? Major cabin fever.
As part of our routine, Little Bear and I usually have an outing in the morning. When it’s pouring like it was this morning though, it’s hard to get outside. And since I had lots to do inside, I decided we’d have a fun, relaxing and comfy day at home.
All was good for about an hour and a half. It was at that point that I noticed Little Bear starting to get restless (read: he was trying to dive off the couch onto Ziggy). I decided he needed a little help in the relaxing department.
The first thing I did was put on some beautiful Buddhist chanting. I wish I could tell you the name of the CD, but I can’t since it’s in Chinese so I can’t read it! My mother recently showed Little Bear and I around some local Buddhist temples, and this was a CD we picked up from the Ling Yen Mountain Temple in Richmond. While we were there, Little Bear was completely mesmerized by his surroundings and was quiet and peaceful. I had been worried about him making too much noise, so I asked someone there if it would be a problem if he was too loud. They chuckled and told me there would be nothing to worry about and that he would stay quiet. I had my doubts, but boy, was I wrong. Little Bear followed the example being set in the surroundings and was calmer than I could have ever imagined for a 2 year old.
Little Bear recognized the CD as being from the temple and while he sat and listened to the chanting, I grabbed a few supplies to make this super easy and fun activity: cloud dough!
Cloud dough is a soft, silky, sand-like dough, made from common household ingredients. Think of it as playing with soft, somewhat pliable sand. Tactile relaxation at its best! To make our cloud dough more relaxing, I added in a few drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender has a zillion benefits, just a few of which include:
- antiseptic properties
- anti-inflammatory properties
- eases anxiety and restlessness
- eases depression
- eases insomnia
- good for digestion
- and of course, it smells great!
Making the cloud dough takes minutes, at most. First, gather all your materials:
- 4 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of oil (any oil…I used vegetable oil, but you could use baby oil or whatever else you have around)
- Your favourite essential oil. I used lavender.
Next, put all the ingredients in a bowl or basin and mix (use your hands…your fingers are the best tool). Your kids can help put this together.
When you’re all done, add measuring cups, spoons, scoops, sand molds, or whatever other toys you want! Little Bear enjoyed scooping the sand back and forth between measuring cups and then later I gave him some plastic farm animals which he happily buried into the cloud dough.
Final step: enter Nirvana. Perhaps this Mama Bear can have a cup of tea while Little Bear sculpts a mini Buddha in his cloud dough. 😉