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3 Ways to Enhance Your Child’s Gardening Experience

3 Ways to Enhance Your Child’s Gardening Experience

Summer’s officially here, which means it's time to bring your little helper(s) into the garden to get their hands dirty - literally! Gardening is not only a therapeutic and grounding summer activity, but the sensory experience that it provides children with is like no other! Seize the warm days and welcoming mind of your toddler and make the most of the season in the garden! Here are 3 ways to get your little one excited and eager to spend more time outdoors this summer.

  • Creativity Mats™: In addition to our memorable modeling dough, The Dough Parlour’s Creativity Mats™ are a fantastic addition to your little one’s sensory experience, both indoors and out. With themes like Nature and Life Cycles, your child(ren) can connect with outdoor elements like rainbows and fresh blooms, all from the ease of our easy-to-clean, recyclable mats. Not only do our Creativity Mats™ make great “canvases” for your child’s modeling dough masterpiece, but they also double as the perfect interactive placemats!
  • Bucket Sets: Bring the beach to your backyard with a Bucket and Shovel set to give your little one the hands-on summer experience of their dreams! Whether they’re full of sand or soil, buckets and shovels are fun and fuss-free accessories to keep children busy outdoors. From building castles to patching up garden gaps, bucket sets are great to incorporate into outdoor playtime. Not to mention - they’re great for carrying our play dough too!
  • Watering Cans: Encouraging children to be mindful of other living things is important and often starts in the garden. Getting your little ones used to using tools like watering cans can give them a sense of responsibility to look after plants - real or fake! Not only are children’s watering cans perfect for playtime, but they also allow for the perfect mirrored mommy-and-child experience for when you’re watering your plants, and they’re watering “theirs”!

  • There are so many ways your little ones can engage in gardening fun this summer, whether it’s with a modelling dough set, our Creativity Mats™, or classic outside tools made child-friendly. We’ll have our sunscreen on and gardening mitts out with the children this season and we hope you do too!
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    Explore STEM with Dough Parlour

    Explore STEM with Dough Parlour

    With most modern-day “grown-up” jobs involving some element of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), it’s important to get our children thinking about their interests in these fields at a young age. Integrating STEM into early childhood education can help with problem-solving, analytical thinking, and the application of complex concepts to real-world scenarios. Additionally, incorporating STEM-based toys into your little one’s lessons encourages them to think outside the box with their creativity. Our play dough was recently recognized by CTV Morning Live as one of the top STEM toys for Canadian children, and we’re excited to share how Dough Parlour can help you educate your child(ren) on all things STEM, right at home! 

    STEM is an exciting and expansive field with a world of opportunities. According to GirlScouts, 74% of high school girls are interested in STEM; having your child(ren) explore the fields (with Dough Parlour of course!) will help kickstart their success at a young age. The versatility of our dough is perfect for hands-on learning. Whether you need a little assistance explaining the solar system to your children, helping with a math problem, or even providing the tools to build imaginative structures, Dough Parlour can be used in a multitude of ways to help make concepts more clear.  

    We’re all about making playtime fun yet informative, and implementing toys into lessons is a fool-proof way to keep things exciting and memorable. Our play dough is a fuss-free way to make STEM lessons more engaging, prompting children to be more hands-on and curious throughout the learning process.

    If you’re interested, please check us out on CTV Morning Live as we’re highlighted alongside some of the country’s top STEM toy brands! 

    CTV Edmonton Morning Live

    CTV Calgary Morning Live

    CTV Vancouver Morning Live

    CTV Regina Morning Live

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    5 Dough Scents Inspired by Your Child’s Favourite Summer Treats

    5 Dough Scents Inspired by Your Child’s Favourite Summer Treats

    Summertime… the season of delicious treats, late nights, and days spent playing outside. Without compromising our clean formula, we captured the essence of summer in each of our new scents, keeping freshness, fruitiness, and fun in mind. Here are 5 of our newest dough scents that your little ones will love this summer!


    cherry

    Cherry

    With a deep red hue and classic fruity scent, our Cherry dough is bound to be a favourite in your little one’s modelling dough collection this season! 


    coconut

    Coconut

    Nothing says tropical quite like Coconut, and we couldn’t resist adding the sweet scent to our summer collection! The soft white colour of our Coconut dough, combined with its incredibly indulgent scent, will make it a playtime favourite this summer and beyond.


    key lime

    Key Lime

    Balance out your sweet scents with the tangy yet tasty fragrance of our Key Lime dough. Its vibrant green colour and punchy citrus scent adds the perfect freshness to playtime.


    s'mores

    S’mores

    Say hello to campfires made quick, all thanks to our pale grey S’mores dough! We added hints of roasted vanilla and gooey chocolate to our classic Marshmallow scent that sold out fast last season. Don’t miss your chance on this elevated classic this summer!


    Tangerine

    Tangerine

    The freshness of produce is something worth celebrating in the summer and we’re doing so with our orange Tangerine dough! The juicy scent achieved with natural citrus oils makes this a bright addition to any dough collection. 


    Now the fun and imagination begins! Shake up your little one’s summer with the indulgent yet 100% non-toxic ingredients of our new scents and make it a season to remember! ☀️
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    Play Up Your Geography Lessons with Play Dough

    Play Up Your Geography Lessons with Play Dough

    Geography is a school subject that often gets children excited… until they become distracted. In the age of learning from home, it can feel challenging to teach geography to your little ones in ways that keep them motivated and engaged. That’s where we come in! The Dough Parlour’s play dough is a great tool to add into geography lessons. Our dough is perfect to encourage your child to associate sensory experiences with learning and, as a result, retain the information with better recall. Here are some ways to bring your geography lessons to life.

    Geography with Dough Parlour mats

    World Continents
    Have your little ones use play dough to get familiar with the world continents! Using different colours and stencils that define the shape of each continent will work as a reference point when teaching your child the differences between each continent.

    Ecosystems
    With some familiarity of the continents, you and your child(ren) can start a discussion about the ecosystems within each continent, and visualize them with dough! Have your little one replicate animals and plants from images online (or from their imagination!) while you walk them through the different forms of life on each continent.

    The Earth’s Crust
    Look inwards with your little ones and guide them through the layers of the Earth’s crust! Use a different colour of dough for each of the earth’s four layers, making a small ball for the inner core and adding new layers for the outer core, the mantle, and the crust. Cutting the sphere in half once all the layers are done will not only help children understand the concept of the Earth’s crust better, but it will also give them an unmatched feeling of satisfaction!

    Though kids love the subject of geography, their attention spans may sometimes say otherwise. By incorporating The Dough Parlour into your lessons, we’re sure that your child(ren) will not only be engaged, but excitedly counting down until the next one!

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    How to Destress as a Parent in Lockdown

    How to Destress as a Parent in Lockdown

    Let’s face it. Being a mom is a full-time job (if not, more!), and having to work that job amidst an ongoing lockdown makes it even more challenging. With the countless changes we've experienced over the last year, however, the need for self-care has been a constant. While we know all too well how difficult it can be to set aside time for yourself, aiming to destress benefits both you and your child(ren). To help, we’ve compiled a shortlist of our favourite self-care practices for you - and the kids too!

    Develop a routine
    With the ongoing changes that stem from COVID-19 lockdown regulations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a lack of stability in our daily lives. So, what better way to create a sense of normalcy than with a routine! Whether it’s a quick morning routine to kickstart your day, or a detailed schedule to follow from noon to night, establishing a routine allows you to operate at your best. Designating times for specific tasks will help you and your little ones stay optimistic, motivated, and focused on the tasks at hand. Remember to be intentional about time for three non-negotiables - meals, play, and you-time!

    Join, or create, a support group
    Spending time connecting - albeit virtually - with other parents who are experiencing similar stressors often helps to ease pressure and creates community when (and where) it's needed most. Being able to chat, decompress, and share stories with parents in similar situations acts as a reminder that you're not alone in this challenging time. Use this opportunity to exchange tips with other parents regarding at-home activities, how to stay engaged, ways to celebrate milestones, and more.

    little girl on white chair holding tub of dough

    Celebrate the little wins
    Goal-setting is crucial for children to understand the process behind task completion. In the reality of our current situation, it’s important to celebrate success whenever, and however, possible. Whether it means rewarding your little one with their favourite treat after getting through a tough school lesson, or allowing them to indulge in a little extra YouTube after cleaning up their room, these rewards will fuel good behaviour, motivation, and optimism in your child - and you!

    Think outside the box
    In a time where it feels like being creative is all we can do, the silver lining is that there’s always something new to test out, see, and experience! Bringing your little one into the kitchen as a “sous chef” to spice up mealtime, or changing up math lessons with new tools (like using our dough!) are some foolproof ways to animate the everyday.

    While each family is experiencing the lockdown differently, you’re able to guide the experience in your own home. Use these tips to help ease the stress and increase the smiles during this time together!

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    Summer Colouring Fun!

    Summer Colouring Fun!

    5 Colouring Pages Filled with Summer Fun!

    grandpa and child colouring

    We love colouring pages for a lot of reasons – it’s quick and easy to keep kids busy, mess-free, and helps to support fine motor skills and creativity – plus it’s fun for kids and adults alike, so grab some pencil crayons and join in!

    P.S. Did you download our Spring 2021 colouring pagesSummer 2020 colouring pages and Fall 2020 colouring pages yet?

    If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

    Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

     

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    5 Tips for Sensory Play

    5 Tips for Sensory Play

    two little girls playing with dough

    If you have a young one, odds are that you know about ‘sensory play’. You’ve likely heard about how activities that stimulate your child’s senses, like their sense of touch, smell, and taste, are incredibly beneficial for their learning and development. But, what you might not know, is how to go about facilitating sensory play for your child!

    We know it can be intimidating. Between perfectly curated sensory bins popping up online to the potential mess to clean up afterward, setting up sensory play can sometimes feel a little daunting.

    However, it doesn’t have to be. Sensory play can be fun, easy, and dare we say... simple! Here are five tips to make sensory play easier and more enjoyable for you and your little one.

    1. Get Inspired: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! There are lots of ideas and inspiration online from parents and educators who have led the way. Start simple with sensory play activities that only need a few supplies, and work your way up to more elaborate setups as you go. You can bookmark lists or pin ideas on Pinterest to make it even easier to quickly come up with your next sensory play activity.

    Here are a few great resources to get you started:
    • Simple 10 Min Sensory Activities
    Sensory Bin Filler Ideas
    Sensory Activities for Toddlers

    2. Schedule It In: Life gets busy, so carving out a consistent time for designated sensory play is sometimes what it takes to make it a reality. Whether it’s designating Thursday night ‘Pizza & Play Night’ or having each Saturday morning marked for sensory activities, getting into a routine can be helpful in making sure your child regularly experiences all of the rich benefits of sensory play.

    3. Play Along: Most sensory activities need some level of supervision, especially the ones involving small pieces and non-edible materials. But parents that go one step further, from supervision to co-play, can add to the overall developmental experience of their child. Sit with your little one while they’re playing and encourage their learning by asking open-ended questions or guiding them to create new things with the materials.

    4. Make it Accessible: Sensory play doesn’t have to be for special occasions and it doesn’t have to require an elaborate set up. Keep a cabinet or ‘art cart’ stocked with simple sensory materials like play dough, pipe cleaners, putty, and bubble wrap so that your child can access (or ask for your help accessing) the materials when the mood strikes.

    5. Make Clean Up Easy: For many parents, a big resistance to sensory play is the mess it creates, but there are a number of ways to reduce clean up time. When possible, set up the activity outside. This way, you’ll be less worried about sticky fingers on your furniture or stains on your countertops. Another helpful hack is putting an old shower curtain or tarp down under the activity that can be easily tied up (with all the mess inside it!) when playtime is done.

    Sensory play can open up your child’s world as they explore and create with new sights, smells, and sensations. Keep in mind these five simple tips and you’ll be looking forward to playtime as much as your child.

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    3 Intentional Ingredients in Our Dough

    3 Intentional Ingredients in Our Dough

    little girl playing with doughAt The Dough Parlour, we're proud to be transparent about our product ingredients. We strongly believe this transparency is a big part of why our customers choose our products over others... besides the insanely delicious smelling dough and beautiful pastel colours! 

    Here are three of our ingredients we're particularly proud of:

    1. Food-Grade Scents: 100% of the ingredients we use are premium and bakery-grade, with the exception of some of our Seasonal scents which are scented with organic essential oils.

    2. Natural Preservative: We use salt as an all natural preservative in our dough at the small cost of shorter shelf life. Tip: Store in the fridge after opening to extend the dough's life.  

    3. BPA Free Packaging: The Dough Parlour’s packaging is entirely BPA-free to ensure that the modeling dough inside stays soft and safe.

    Want to learn more about what's in our dough? Check out this blog post that goes into more detail about our ingredients » 

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    The Magic of Play Dough for Child Development

    The Magic of Play Dough for Child Development

    There are so many ways that play dough can be used to help children along their path of development. 

    We connected with Gillian Holbrook, mom of three, preschool teacher, and the woman behind My Three Little Strawberries Blog and Instagram, to hear from an early years expert on how she’s using play dough to support her children and students physical and cognitive development.

    Dough Parlour: Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?

    Gillian Holbrook: Absolutely. I’m a mom of three girls – Isabella (4), Sophie (15), and Megan (16). I’ve worked as a preschool teacher for the past 20 years and early years education has always been my passion. I’ve been lucky to work in many different roles, including as a Montessori school teacher and the Early Years Officer for the UK Preschool Learning Alliance. Although, being a mom myself has probably taught me the most.

    DP: What inspired you to start the @my_three_little_strawberries Instagram account and blog? And what’s your current vision or goal for it?

    GH: I was inspired to start my Instagram account when I had Isabella and was at home much more often. I joined Instagram as I had a bit of spare time and then I began sharing some of the activities I was doing with the girls. I never imagined I would have even 100 followers, never mind almost 10,000!

    I suppose having some followers gave me a bit of confidence to invest more time in building @my_three_little_strawberries. So I started sharing more and things naturally grew. I can’t imagine blogging about anything else – you really do have to have a genuine passion for these things.

    I love getting messages from people when they’ve tried out an activity or a product I recommended and enjoyed it. I’m a bit like a child myself and truly love the activities and toys (maybe even more than the children sometimes!).

    I don’t necessarily have a specific vision or long-term goal for the account – I just take it day by day really. I go with what the girls are interested in and what inspires me at the time. Maybe one day I would love to have my own toy shop selling all these wonderful products that excite me, but I don’t know if I’d want to let them go. I think truly my dream would be to win the lottery and open up the most magical, beautiful place for children to come and enjoy.

    DP: You have a lot of great content on your Instagram profile and blog around sensory play. Can you share a few benefits of using play dough for sensory play?

    GH: Where do I start? Play dough has so many benefits and I believe it’s so important for all children.

    First, it’s fun! Children love to get messy, and to me, play dough is not too messy but just enough to provide that tactile sensory experience.

    It’s so good for their development, from using those fine motor skills when they squash and squeeze it to developing muscles and tendons in their little hands for pencil and scissor control. You can even incorporate some math by rolling balls and counting them or cutting out shapes.

    Play dough is also really great for concentration - children don’t even realize they’re doing it or how much they are learning, as it’s all done through play and fun.

    I love using The Dough Parlour products because they add an extra sensory element to the experience with their amazing scents. I’ve tried a lot of play dough and Dough Parlour’s has got it just perfect. It's not too strong of a smell and it’s also the perfect texture so you can always cut out the best shapes.

    DP: What are some examples of activities you’ve done with your children or students with play dough?

    GH: Really, the best way to use play dough is to just let the children enjoy it, experiment with it, and use their imaginations. Giving them some tools and cutters is great for gross motor skills or you can even add in some nature by collecting shells, pebbles, or flowers to help them learn about the world around them.

    We love to chop up the dough with a knife to develop hand and eye coordination or roll it out into letters to help with spelling and learning new words.

    You can also turn it into a science activity by talking about how the play dough is made and why it changes consistency from a liquid to a soft dough.

    Another type of activity that works quite well is using play dough to learn about other cultures and traditions. So for example, around Saint Patrick’s Day, you could use green dough to make shamrocks or rainbows, and talk to your children about Irish food and traditions.

    I could go on and on about the benefits, but over the past year, when children’s environments and daily routines have been more uncertain because of the pandemic, I think one of its best uses has to be as a mindful activity to let children just relax, unwind, and create. They can squeeze it if they are feeling frustrated with the world or they can turn it into something magical like a rainbow or a unicorn.

    DP: What suggestions do you have for teachers or parents looking to incorporate play dough into their playtime with young children?

    GH: Most importantly – do it at their pace. Maybe have it available on a low shelf so they can access it when they’re in the mood or feeling creative.

    It’s also a super activity to do when they get tired. Playing with the dough really is relaxing and I’ve found it really helps with calming my children down.

    And lastly, and I know this is a hard one, but let them mix it up and watch how the colour changes, or try adding some rice to give it a new sensation. Bio Glitter is one of my favourite things to add for the visual experience. So don’t worry too much about things looking ‘perfect’, just let them create!

    Featured image by My Three Little Strawberries 

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    What’s In Our Dough?

    What’s In Our Dough?

    children's hands playing with pots of colourful dough on blue gingham table

    With our super squishy texture and mouth-watering scents, it’s only natural to be curious about what’s really in our modeling dough. Great news - we’re sharing some secrets today! Here are the ingredients that make all of The Dough Parlour’s products 100% non-toxic and 100% vegan. 

    Wheat Flour: The elasticity of our modeling dough comes from the gluten in the wheat flour that we use. We know satisfaction is measured on a squishy scale, so we kept that in mind when choosing the flour for our formula. Wheat flour plays an important role in giving our dough its beloved bouncy texture, and the deeper colour of the flour also helps make our pastel magic happen.

    Sea Salt: As a natural antibacterial preservative, salt gives our modeling dough texture, and keeps it fresh enough to store on the shelf (tip: storing in the fridge will help extend the life of your dough once opened). Working with the other ingredients in our formula, sea salt adds extra body to our modeling dough.

    Vegetable Oil: Just like baby oil keeps skin smooth, vegetable oil is the natural lubricant that we use to keep our modeling dough soft. It moistens all the ingredients and combines them into one happy mixture with a non-sticky texture that we know and love at The Dough Parlour.

    Natural Food Extracts: With sensory play at the forefront of our philosophy, we focus on making The Dough Parlour's scented rainbow cheerful yet child-proof.

    To achieve the wide range of scents for our modeling dough, we use only natural food extracts for fragrance to keep our ingredients 100% natural.

    Premium Bakery-Grade Colouring: Our modeling dough gets its perfect pastel with the help of our wheat flour, but the star player is the premium bakery-grade colouring we use. 

    And there you have it - The Dough Parlour’s all-vegan, and all-fun ingredient list! With our hand-picked ingredients for our hand-crafted modeling dough, your child is guaranteed to have a fun filled sensory experience every time, and you know exactly what's in their hands.

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    Easter & Spring Card Printables

    Easter & Spring Card Printables

    Free Printable Easter Cards

    There’s nothing more enjoyable for kids than gifting the ones they love with their very own art creations. Especially personalized ones that they can tuck inside an envelope and mail to that special person in their life.

    Print out these adorable Spring-themed cards for your child(ren) and have them colour their hearts out. Help them write a special note to their Grandparents, Aunt or Uncle… or to you!

    TIPS:

    1. If you’ve got some cardstock handy, print them out on those, to make the card sturdier.

    2. Add some glitter stickers, or any other sticker styles you’ve got lying around.

    3. Spray the card with your child’s favourite perfume or cologne. Be sure to hold it 20-30cm away to avoid the card getting wet.

    4. Use some non-toxic glue (in small amounts)

    If your child had a great time with Dough Parlour’s colouring pages, then please tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@DoughParlour on both), we’d love to see them!

    Download each one individually by clicking on the ones you like best, or download them all at once »

     

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    5 Tips for Making Homeschooling Fun with Play Dough

    5 Tips for Making Homeschooling Fun with Play Dough

    More and more parents are finding themselves educating their young ones at home these days. Whether it’s a personal decision to homeschool or mandated virtual learning, for many, the classroom has moved from the school to home almost overnight. 

    We caught up with Tanya, mom of two, homeschooler extraordinaire, and the woman behind @you.are.my.sonshine (Instagram) to see what advice she has for other parents who are dusting off their teaching hat to educate their children from home.

    Here’s what Tanya had to say about using play dough in the at-home classroom.

    • Bring the lesson to life

    stingray out of dough

    When Tanya started to homeschool her boys last March, she quickly found that the best way to keep her boys excited to learn in a new environment was to structure their lessons around a unique theme for each week. The boys chose the theme, and she would have all of the worksheets, activities, and lessons revolve around the theme of the week and then would use dough from The Dough Parlour to bring the lessons to life. When the boys were learning about the ocean, Tanya set up play dough invitations which helped them to freely create creative sea creatures like flounders, stingrays, and comb jellies out of play dough. When the boys were learning about anatomy, they used the dough to create organs in the body, making shapes for the lungs, heart, and stomach. Tanya suggests using play dough, or other creative materials like paint, to move the lesson from a paper worksheet to something they can touch and feel; it not only encourages creativity, but is also a way for everyone to enjoy a calming sensory activity together.

    little boy making flounder out of dough Jellyfish out of dough Two boys playing with dough to make organs for school Organs made of play dough

    • Don’t stop at art class
    Using dough doesn’t have to be reserved for art class or break time. There are so many ways to incorporate dough into different school subjects to keep your children engaged and focused while learning at home. Tanya shared with us that they will often use play dough balls for counting and easy addition and subtraction, and they also use dough to spell out new words they’re learning that week.

    using dough on paper to create nature scenes Micha's butterfly made of dough

    Art supplies for creating bird nests

    • Preparation is key
    Like anything in life, homeschooling tends to go smoother with a little bit of prep work. Tanya suggests looking on Pinterest beforehand to get inspiration for creative activities and then modifying them to be more age appropriate if necessary. Pinterest is filled with clever ideas for painting projects, play dough creations, and ways to make learning more fun for your kids. Tanya also shared that physically preparing the learning space has made all the difference in setting their school week up for success. She has an ‘art cart’ for each of her boys, right near their desk, equipped with sketchbooks, paint supplies, play dough, drawing materials, and loose parts. This way when inspiration strikes, the materials to create are never too far away.

    • Take their lead
    Kids have bright young minds, with tons of ideas of their own. Instead of mapping out every moment of the day, sometimes it’s a good idea to be flexible and follow your child’s lead. Tanya told us about the week the boys were learning about nature. They had done a lot of hikes and learned about different types of trees and birds, and the boys became quite fascinated by bird nests. Tanya worked off their ideas, tapping into the momentum of what was interesting to them, and followed her son’s suggestion to create bird nests of their own out of dough. They picked grass and sticks to add to the nests and even made little dough bird eggs to make it complete.

    two boys creating birds nests from art supplies bird eggs made of dough micah's bird nest

    • Create with them
    Roll up your sleeves and create alongside your kids. Tanya suggests that it’s best if you’re truly part of the process; sitting with them, teaching them, and helping to expand their vocabulary. Get them talking about what they're creating and introduce them to new words related to their creation. She mentioned that Dough Parlour is great for this as the colours are bright and beautiful and the dough scents are so good it’s hard not to take a bite! When young ones see their parents having just as much fun, the enjoyment is reciprocated and they're also more likely to stay engaged in the activity for a longer period of time. If you’re looking for permission to have a little fun and play – consider this it!

    For dough sets for your at-home classroom, shop our latest collections »

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