“ Brand: Spinmaster / Type: Craft Supplies / Age: 3 Years+ „
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What is mould-able yet never dries out? What lacks the satisfying "squish" of Playdoh and smells like old socks? What is crumbly until it is worked by hand, when it becomes able to sit in a mould and produce detailed shapes? What will never, ever come out of your carpets...?
Moon dough.... nothing at all like Playdoh unfortunately. I love Playdoh. Yes it is messy but the mess is nothing compared to the explosion that is Moon dough. Playdoh also smells nice and feels wonderful to squash. This stuff is very odd to touch and looks powdery, akin perhaps to something dubious from a 1980's acid house rave. It comes in nice bright colours just like other mouldable doughs, but it is much cheaper to buy, especially in bulk like this set. I foolishly bought 20 bags of this stuff before I had tested it or used it.....
SO WHAT IS IT?
Moon dough is sold as a hypoallergenic and wheat free modelling compound and its biggest selling point is that unlike most Playdoh type substances, this one will never dry out. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen as the stuff collects cat hair like billy-o. Generally geared towards pre-school kiddies aged 2-4ish, this stuff like all modelling compounds is good for imaginative play, dexterity, colour matching and learning, creativity and general mess making.
Moon dough is a very strange textured substance. It feels crumbly and dry straight out of the clear packet, but once you shove it in a mould or start to work it, it holds a shape. This makes it perfect to accompany the little mould making kits that you can buy to use alongside this stuff. There are "Diner sets", Pizza sets, Farms and barn sets... my Daughter's favourite is the dog kennel one that spits out perfectly formed technicolour dogs every 20 seconds... who wouldn't love that?
YOUR BALLS WILL FALL APART:
You cannot roll it like Playdoh, and you cannot make it into a ball or stretch it out. It lacks the satisfying squish of Playdoh but that does not mean that it is totally pointless. The little mould making kits start at around 6-7 quid, and these are clever. You shove the dough in the opening until full up and then turn a lever or handle and out pops your dog/pizza/burger etc. We have several of these little mould making gizmos and the cleverest one is the pizza kit. You get several moulds with that one, including a perfectly formed mushroom and a very vivacious looking broccoli.
Moon dough has an almost silky texture under the fingertips. The only way that I can describe this is to imagine powdered nylon. It is made of of tiny strands which when squashed, somehow hold together. Although not unpleasant to hold and work with, the smell is very off-putting and this seems to be universal across all of the colours supplied in this kit. If you imagine an unwashed gym sock which has been worn for at least a week, then that would be only a slight exaggeration as to the pungent delights that exude from this to tickle your nostrils. This can be very distracting when you are trying to produce a perfectly formed piece of gherkin (the pizza kit contains this and then some), but did not seem to bother my Daughter....
Although the actual ingredients of Moon dough are shrouded in secrecy and no doubt guarded by a team of psychedelic dogs (see the kennel mould).... a little digging finds that it is related somewhat to that wonderful cult toy of the 70's "Silly Putty"... remember that?
Part of the Moon dough patent lists an unidentified material which is coated in "hydroxyl-terminated polymer" (of which apparently, silicon oil is one). So Moon dough is a highly synthetic substance when compared with staples such as Playdoh. Add in a bit of Boron to increase viscosity and you have Moon dough. Like Silly putty, Moon dough contains no water so cannot dry out.
EXPERIENCE THE MESS:
This collection was purchased because it contained a variety of colours and was a very good price. Like I said, I knew little about Moon dough so had no clue as to the chaos it could bring to my house. I had so many packets of the stuff (and these are big packets not small ones), that I tried to give some away. The Childminder (wisely) refused and gave a titter, as she knew the horrible truth... and my friend took one bag to give to her 4 year old. A series of heated texts and rude words followed later that evening where she vowed to bin the lot. Some people are very ungrateful.
The Moon dough really does get everywhere. After using this stuff, I will never moan about Playdoh mess again. The fine and hair-like fibres seem to multiply once you open the packet, and spread through your house in a rainbow coloured orgy of debris. You will find it in your hair, on your rugs, in your tea (not recommended at all) and pretty much everywhere else too. It attracts cat hair when left out, and starts to resemble a slightly startled brightly coloured hamster. There is no point in trying to remove the hair and fluff, just bin it and start again. Or hide the whole damn lot and hope that your child forgets about it pronto.
This stuff will have you vacuuming several times in quick succession as you try to stay on top of the flaky mess. I find that the best way to cope with this is to provide a large sheet/playmat to cover your floor as best you can and then to just try to distract yourself until the child inevitably becomes bored after a while. Even with a large play mat, there will still be errant bits that have tried to escape the confines of their play area, and you may find bits of Moon dough around the house for days.
Another way to minimise the mess is to let the child/children play outside with it, but it is very fluffy and light and will blow away. I am also not very confident that such a non organic substance would be good for my pumpkins. Neither am I sure in all honesty if there is a foolproof way to use this substance and not spend weeks revisiting it in the furnishings. If you know of one then please let me know.
This is a good toy for kids with sensory issues, or who like mine just like to make a bloody mess. It encourages colour recognition in little kids and will not merge into one brown blob when mixed up like Playdoh and other soft doughs do. It is cheap, bright and has a very unusual texture which is intriguing to children and there are some great playsets to buy that go alongside it.
I paid £6 plus £2.99 delivery (via Amazon) for my big box of 20 bags. Some were "half bags" but were still amply sized, and some were big bags around 5" long and 4" wide. The dough is light and loosely packed in the bags but there is a ton of Moon dough here to last for ages.
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Moon dough is fun for little ones but will annoy adults. Buy it for other people's kids....