How to Make Toddler-Safe Cloud Dough for Sensory Play

I mentioned in some earlier posts that toddlers like sensory play. Here's one of the few activities I found online that my son and I tried together: Cloud Dough. I think it's supposed to be faux-sand or something, when you can't get a sandbox for your kid or feel that soil would be too dirty of an alternative. Here's what ours look like:



Here are the ingredient that you will need to make cloud dough:
  • 8 cups of Flour
  • 1 cup of Vegetable Oil
  • Non-Toxic Tempera Powder (alternative: food color powder)
  • A potato masher or your muscular hands

You'll notice that the recipe is "toddler-safe". You see, cloud dough can be made using baby oil, and since most kids who enjoy this are actually below three years of age, the better alternative is vegetable oil or any edible oil. Having said that, here's how you make cloud dough, with the help of pictures and not very helpful instructions:

STEP 1 : Please combine the flour and vegetable oil in a bowl or whatever container you'll be storing your cloud dough in. 

       

 

STEP  2 : Add the tempera powder or powdered food color. In our case, due to laziness and lack of money, we had to settle with liquid food color. Your cloud dough won't look so vibrant with just food color. Believe me, I almost emptied the tiny food color bottles and all I end up with is freckled cloud dough. It still looks nice though, kinda pretty actually; minimalistic and fluffy-looking.


Step 3 : Mash, mash, mash and Stir, stir, stir until your flour becomes as crumbly as Polvoron and evenly colored.


See what I meant when you use liquid food color instead of powder. The food color simply won't mix since there's oil in the recipe. The oil in the flour will just resist the liquid food color's advantages. I tried finding a solution for it by adding vinegar, like what we did for the Rainbow Colored Rice, but it still didn't work out well.Here's what another batch, using mostly liquid blue food color, looked like:


Since this post is rebellious, again, to the original toddler-safe cloud dough recipe I found, here's a direct link to it. You'll see what I mean by how vibrant the cloud dough's colors should look like. Going back to our own version of it, here's what Miggy did with his cloud dough. I threw in some tools meant for sand-play but my toddler thought cars are infinitely better to use for any kind of play.


Apparently, cars can act like dump trucks to carry colored rice and swim like fishes in the water. I am honestly mesmerized by my two-year old's imaginations when it comes to his cars' adventures.



I hope you try this, because it's really fun. We even made sand castles and it tempted me to make a giant cloud-dough box but... you know, I'm not that filthy rich and it's flour we're talking about. Think of how many pancakes we can make out of a kilogram alone, we'd never go hungry!

Basic Yaya Training & Managing the Family Income + Budget

Okay, so I've posted about creative workshops and workshops to boost your entrepreneurial dreams. This time, let's focus on home improvement. Here are two of what Manila Workshops can offer you this end of May.

BASIC YAYA TRAINING SERIES

Yep, it's a series, but you can opt to join just one or a few if that's all your helper needs to learn. This workshop is perfect for both Yaya and Amo especially when the latter relies on the other to do just about everything in the house, with work elsewhere constantly knocking.



The first two sessions have gone but here are other remaining 5 you can catch up on, courtesy of Manila Workshops, Mothercare, Venture Lab and Ready to Be Rich:


  • SESSION 3: Basic First Aid (May 30, 2015 / 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm)
  • May 30, 2015 (Saturday); 1:00 to 4:00 PM
    July 18, 2015 (Saturday); 1:00 to 4:00 PM
    Venue: Mothercare Podium
    • Common Diseases on Children
    • Emergency Situations
    • Preventing Accidents
    • First Aid
    • Open Forum
  • SESSION 4: Money Management (June 20, 2015 / 1 pm - 4 pm)
  • June 20, 2015 (Saturday); 1:00 to 4:00 PM
    Sept. 19, 2015 (Saturday); 1:00 to 4:00 PM
    Venue: Mothercare Podium
    A. Introduction
    – About me
    B. Personal Finance Mindset
    – Everyone can be rich – the abundance mindset
    – You don’t need to be intelligent and be good in math to be rich
    C. The Habit of Saving
    – Paying yourself first
    – How to create a simple budget plan
    D. Protection
    – The concept of emergency funds
    – The role of a bank savings account in your finances
    E. Money and Relationships
    – Rules to sending money to your family
    – How to openly talk with your employer about money
  • SESSION 3: Basic First Aid (July 18, 2015)
  • SESSION 2 Rerun: New Born, Infant and Toddler Care (August 8)
  • SESSION 4: Money Management (September 19, 2015)
The Instructors

Tina graduated BS Nursing (’10) from Southville International School and College. She passed the Nursing Licensure Exam on July 2010. She worked as a School Nurse and Preschool Teacher in The Bridge School from 2010-2012, but is still an on call Preschool Teacher in The Bridge School. She is a full time Yaya Seminar Facilitator of VentureLab Business Resource Center, Inc.
Fitz Gerard Villafuerte is a Registered Financial Planner and a book author. He is a civil engineer who decided to quit the corporate world in 2003 to pursue entrepreneurship. In 2014, he became a registered financial planner. His blog, entitled, Ready To Be Rich, has already received several recognitions including the Best Business and Finance Blog at the Philippine Blog Awards for two years in a row. Moreover, an international finance publication, Wise Bread, has likewise ranked his website as among the Top 100 Personal Finance blogs in the world. Fitz has also been recognized by Moneysense Magazine as among the top 12 most influential people in Personal Finance in the Philippines.
REGISTER or SIGN UP HERE for the BASIC YAYA TRAINING
Please DO USE my REFERRAL CODE upon Registration:
MDAB - BYT1

MANAGING FAMILY AND INCOME BUDGET
Next up, it's about time that we get those financial knots straight and break free from debts, credits and the habit of leisurely spending. This workshop will help you enjoy money more without causing the rest of the budget to crumble and suffer.

Managing Family Income and Budget (May 30, 2015 / 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm)
Venue: Best for Families Headquarters, #29 1st Street, New Manila, Quezon City
Learning Fee:
Regular Rate:   Php800
Couple Rate:    Php1200
One of the challenges of having a family is making both ends meet and saving for the future. Newly married couples and even couples who have been married for a longer time are always having the same struggle of managing family income on a regular basis, which most of the time, is a cause of marital problems between husband and wife. A solution for a harmonious marital relationship is having the right mindset and know-how on handling money wisely. Manila Workshops, in partnership with Best for Families and Insular Life, present "Managing Family Income and Budget", a finance workshop for couples who would like to know more about balancing family income and planning for the future.
The Speaker
Celso Carlos L. Magcalas is a graduate of Business and Economics from De La Salle University majors in Marketing and Advertising. He has also received a Certificate of Diploma from the University of the Philippines major in Physical Education and took his MBA at the Philippine School of Business Administration. He joined the Insurance and investments industry in 2003 and became the Author of the Financial Needs Analysis program used by Insular Life.
As of today, he is a regular speaker in the Financial Wellness program for the OFWs organized by the OWWA – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, a Registered Financial Planner and the Regional Head of the Metro North Regional Office of Insular Life.
REGISTER or SIGN UP HERE for the BASIC YAYA TRAINING
Please DO USE my REFERRAL CODE upon Registration:
MDAB - MFBI_1

For further inquiries on the events, please contact Donna Donor at:
donna@manilaworkshops.com or visit Manila Workshops
...and Don't forget to MENTION that you read it at HAPPIMESS :)

Why You Should Join a MANILA WORKSHOPS Event

Let's all first admit that at some point we've experienced at least one boring talk or seminar about a topic that should have been educational. Some of us might have even come home disappointed for dishing out on a workshop that taught way-too-basic things that you already know. But enough of all those bad experiences, let's talk about workshops that are fun!

Enter Manila Workshops: Turning Your Entrepreneurial Dreams into Reality!



Facebook: Manila Workshops       Twitter: @manilaworkshops       Instagram: manilaworkshops

Yes, I have attended some of their workshops and yes I do intend on experiencing more of what they have to offer. I don't deny that I advertise their workshops on my blog but I also don't deny that I feel that you'll miss out on a wonderful experience for not trying out at least one Manila Workshops event. Want me to convince you further? Here are the reasons why you should join a Manila Workshops event!

IT LURES OUT YOUR CREATIVITY
....even when you think there's none! I am an artist and so you must think I'm just saying this to entice you but from my workshop experience Manila Workshops' events do provide a lot of space for creativity. You don't need to be an artist to get creative and most of the workshops are for non-artistic types who want to venture and tap into their wild side! ..or, well, their creative side. Take for example their Water Color Calligraphy, Doodle Art and Make Your Own Totes workshops. Was majority of the attendees artists? Not even close!

A VARIETY OF WORKSHOPS FOR ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE
It doesn't matter if you're a working mom, a student or an aspiring entrepreneur. Manila Workshops cater to the interests of everyone. You can find all kinds of events from like:

  • Parenting Guides
  • Children's Safety Seminars
  • Financial Management
  • Ya-Ya or Maid Training Workshops
  • Start-Up Business Guides
  • Virtual Assistant Know-Hows
  • Creative and Artistic Classes

They have almost every kind of workshop and all of them are REALLY useful. You can improve existing skills, lure out non-existent ones, boost your business, correct your parenting methods and enhance your career.

IT ALLOWS YOU TO PARTICIPATE
Most workshops involve a speak and rows of listeners. In Manila Workshops, I didn't experience that. What I experienced and felt was that there was a Sharer and different Participants. It didn't feel the same way when you're in college and it's required that you sit through a seminar on Copyright Issues. There is actual interaction between the speakers and the attendees at Manila Workshops events. There are relevant activities that will help you understand the topic better, which leads to the next reason why joining a Manila Workshops event should be on your list.

IT'S INTERACTIVE AND FUN
My last Manila Workshops experience was just this March; I attended a Road to Retail workshop series on Let's Create Your Own Product. You can read about my experience here. What makes Manila Workshops' events so memorable for me is the fun activities and how it makes you feel so involved. At the Road to Retail workshop we had several group activities that required some craft-work and brainstorming. Scissors and glue were provided as well as tons of magazines to look lovingly at, cut into pieces and stick on a cartolina to make an awesome mood board. How many workshops can you count that let you run scissor blades over Daniel Padill--i mean, some crappy perfume ads.

THE SPEAKERS ARE DOWN TO EARTH
I've listened to 5 speakers covering topics from Making Work-at-Home Easier and How to Manage Your Finances to Legalizing Your Business the Easy Way. Each of the speaker I've listened to had their own warm aura about them. I'm not a very sociable person and I tend to back off and shrink away from the crowd especially when the person in front of me is intimidating. I didn't feel that way with the speakers. If anything, I felt that they were trying to help. Really help. They're don't just give off an aura of warmth and openness, they actually talk to you, come up to you and ask what you're tackling on the subject and how they can help.

I experienced much of that in the Road to Retail workshop. Ma'am Bam Besa approached me, looked me in the eye and asked what I needed help with. That small question, a tiny detail, makes you feel important enough and that's something not all workshops can offer: a sense of being acknowledged. That the speaker is not just talking to rows and rows of chairs with people who happen to be sitting on it, but talking to a variety of individuals who sat on chairs.

ASSISTANCE AFTER THE WORKSHOP
Most of the time, once the workshop is done I'd get an email containing copies of the handouts or reference the speaker used during the event. With Manila Workshops, I get added into a support group so that I can keep in touch with the speakers and they can guide me through my entrepreneurial plans. In addition to that I can also ask for advice or feedback from fellow attendees regarding my progress, it's highly rewarding. Speaking of rewards...

THEY HAVE GAMES and RAFFLE GIVEAWAYS!
Yeah..I'm a sucker for surprises and raffles and giveaways and such, but wouldn't you feel happy and excited too if your workshop took a few minutes off to announce they're giving away 25,000 php worth of Life Insurance!?! I mean... who does that??? Sorry if I am too excited to write well or make sense right now, please let me fix myself. . . ehem. I can state that a workshop by Manila Workshops is Never Boring.

THEY HAVE THE PERFECT VENUES
When I attended the Road to Retail workshop the venue was at Fort Legend Tower and the room was big enough for a dozen attendees but small enough for us to work closer and hear our speakers well. It's also comfy and the tables are big enough for a comfortable and yet interactive work space. At the WAHM expo the rooms were like classrooms, since the talks were for 2 hours only each. I felt like I was really in a classroom and absorbing knowledge from professionals.

QUALITY PRICING
I can't say it's affordable because I have little experience on how much each kind of workshop should cost. I would say that the cost of one workshop is reasonable because first of all: LUNCH INCLUDED, secondly, HAND-OUTS and WORK MATERIALS PROVIDED and last of all FREE SNACKS and COFFEE when you feel like it. In addition to that they offer guidance even after the workshop is over. The value of the workshop is way more than its fee, especially that it gives you an opportunity to meet new friends and business partners.

A CHANCE TO MEET A FRIEND or TWO
I've only attended two events by Manila Workshops and have not made any lasting friendships, but in those two events I was able to talk with other people. I managed to socialize with people who are far from my cup of tea and actually enjoyed the conversation. Manila Workshop events also gave me a chance to break out of my shy/introverted self to try and connect. I genuinely felt that I could belong in the business/entrepreneur world after meeting different types of people. It also inspired me.

IT WILL INSPIRE YOU
I don't know how to explain how Manila Workshops inspired me to do more and be more. Maybe it's how the speakers talked, how they shared their stories of misfortune and trials followed by the rewarding feelings of inner success. Maybe it's the fellow attendees I befriended that emitted this fiery desire for greatness. The gleam in their eyes and how they talk about their dream jobs, businesses, their kids... Maybe it's me relating to these very different people, and catching the virus of I CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING. I somehow start seeing new opportunities to improve myself knowing that there are others like me who have made it out and pulled through.

I'm not sure what you are looking for in a workshop. Me, I want quality for what I pay for and that keeps me from getting JUST cheap things. I never felt regret or "Kakulangan" from attending a Manila Workshops event, if anything I felt somewhat "bitin" because it made me want to learn more. I believe that an event that allows and encourages you to want to be more is something worth experiencing and coming back to. So visit their page, browse through their workshops and choose one that best fits your life goals, help yourself through it: IT'S GOOD FOR THE SOUL :)

Facebook: Manila Workshops      Twitter: @manilaworkshops      Instagram: manilaworkshops


Subscribe to their Newsletter HERE to get Updates on their Workshops!

Our First Playgroup Experience

Here it is! Our first playgroup experience at, and also review of, The Mind Planet. So I mentioned the Mind Planet twice in my blog, once in my First-Timer Bazaar Experience and again in my Quick Guide About Playgroups post. We enrolled Miggy, 2.5 year old son, at the Mind Planet for a playgroup class last month; March 2015. Here's our experience and what we thought about it:


Disclaimer: This is The Mind Planet's Official Logo, I grabbed it from their site.

First Impression
The class schedule for the playgroup was 2 hours a day, 3 times a week. We picked the M-W-F morning schedule, since it helped us become more disciplined in making Miggy sleep early, and therefore wake up early. My husband and I didn't have a problem with the 2 hour schedule because we are well aware that toddlers have a limited attention span who also tend to be grumpy when you pull them out of playing too early. So two hours is the perfect amount for our son.



On the first week of the playgroup we, the parents, were allowed to accompany our children in the classroom. The room was rather small, but big enough for 12 kids and 3 teachers to fit in. It's immediately understandable that the room is meant for kids only (besides the teachers). The Mind Planet made it clear with vocal reminders and signage that parents are not allowed in the classroom during class hours. We can peek or stay by the stairs (the classroom is upstairs) but we can't interfere.


Child-Proof! and I Appreciate it Very Much!
The room is definitely child-proof for me. The tables don't have hard edges and the shelves are tightly stuck to the walls. The door is as high as the average hip and has two locks, one on the inside and one on the outside so even witty tots can't get out. Regarding the room's design or appeall; let's just say our son, Miggy, said, "Wuaww! It's Ossam!" (translation: It's Awesome!)


DISCLAIMER: I did not take this photo, it is not mine.
I grabbed it from the Mind Planet's facebook photos.

The toys at the Mind Planet are the kind of toys I dreamed of giving Miggy. These are the constructive kind of toys where kids can freely build and tear their creation down. Let's just say that there are Lego-like toys everywhere and wooden blocks that look reaaallly colorful and enticing.

Teaching Strategy and Method

The main objective of the Mind Planet, I think, is to help the children develop good social skills, brain and muscle development and also... a bit of independence from mommy and daddy. All of this is in preparation for pre-school so that the separation anxiety can be lessened and kids can experience some positive discipline.

The Teachers
During the first week where the parents were allowed to accompany their kids in class, I noticed that the teachers rarely use the time-out method but rely on distraction to solve disputes among toddlers. Wow, that sounded too serious. I meant to say, they did not raise their voices at all, said "that's bad" to a kid or completely ignored someone crying. Let's just say, they seemed to really care about the kids. They also emit an aura of... homeyness, it's obvious that they love what they do and will not trade it for the world.


DISCLAIMER: I did not take this photo, it is not mine.
I grabbed it from the Mind Planet's facebook photos.

Their decisions in handling each child were perfectly well-balanced, there were no favorites, no underdogs or left-outs. But they do tend to the neediest the most, while equally paying attention to the other kids. It's amazing how their tolerance and patience remained firm even though the other kids were practically wailing at their ears. I thanked God one day I didn't have to be a teacher.

Kids' Awwwctivities
The playgroup provided a lot of activities, around three to four plus snack time and singing and reading. It's heartwarming and "nakakataba ng puso" when we saw our son do arts and crafts and play on his own. Here are a few examples of the activities that our son and his classmates did in the playgroup:




Yes, they have art activities, lots of it, and I must say it always gives me the "kilig" each time Miggy shows us his work at school, like this one:


They do cater to the ABC-123-Red-Blue-Yellow that we mothers would like to teach our kids early on. Here are one example of how the teachers at the Mind Planet taught my son and his classmates about colors:


They have lots of activities that practice their motor skills which I am sure will help them to hold their pencils for writing in the near future. This simple coloring activity itself helped my son take control of his wrists. I swear after three weeks at his playgroup he's coloring more within the lines than all over the drawing book.


DISCLAIMER: I did not take this photo, it is not mine.
I grabbed it from the Mind Planet's facebook photos.

Mini Graduation
I wasn't able to make any friends with the other kids' mommies, I guess I'm still trying to improve on that. I can't seem to find anything to say or share, since most of the moms there look a bit older than me and, well, more experienced too. It didn't stop the Mini-Graduation from being a pleasant day.


Yes they have a mini graduation; there was a potluck among parents and the parents enjoyed eating while the kids roamed around like little monkeys. The theme was Hawaiian and I made a crude lei out of colored paper, because I'm so cheap I wouldn't even buy crepe paper for it. It's also the assessment day where the teacher will tell you about your kid; what he's good at and what he needs help in. Miggy's assessment? Independent but not used to other kids. We enrolled him again in the hopes of helping reduce that habit, since we feel that it's because he's not used to kids that's why he's being physical around someone new.

Class Picture of March Playgroup (MWF 9am)

DISCLAIMER: I did not take this photo, it is not mine.
I grabbed it from the Mind Planet's facebook photos.

My son is the one wearing a Woodstock shirt who is staring blankly at some photo coach somewhere. I guess, in conclusion, I feel that the Mind Planet has exposed my son to situations he would never have experienced if we stayed at home instead. I'm not a sociable person and that makes finding kids to play with difficult for Miggy. I am glad my husband and I decided to enroll him in a playgroup, Miggy is now able to approach other children with some confidence and learning to have "favorites."

Thank You Mind Planet!



We are enrolling him again this June for a 6-month program, hoping that he can overcome his hitting habits and learn how to say Hi in a healthy way. Just in case a teacher or staff from the mind planet comes by this post, I want to say thanks for taking care of my son during his time there. I'm not really good at being sociable but I do know how to appreciate authenticity. I'm glad I inquired about your playgroup, it is the best educational decision I made for Miggy so far.