You still get dough that can be shaped, but the magic zoo also includes moulds to create characters which are bough to life. None of this would work if the Dough was rubbish so let’s cover that first.
The moon dough arrives in three separate bags – Purple, Orange and White and appears more like a thick powder than dough. To mould the moon dough you remove it from the bag and then roll it around in your hands until it starts to soften and form a solid shape. This took a few minutes, and I found rolling the dough on a kitchen worktop was the best way to get the shape quickly. I wouldn’t advise doing this in the air as bits did fall off and having the worktop meant I could get them back easily.
Once moulded the dough kept its shape well with no bits falling off. At this point it was quite easy to pull chunks off it and then make separate shapes from these. It’s advised you keep the dough away from liquid, soap or anything that will get it wet as this will ruin it. The box states it will never dry out, so that is one benefit over Play Doh although I can’t confirm this without a much longer period of testing. It certainly seemed soft in my test.
The magic zoo is a one minute job to set up, requiring little more than a few stickers and bits to be clipped in. It’s a simple setup and I didn’t need the instructions – even the stickers had places marked for them on the structure – you really couldn’t go wrong. The zoo is built to contain moulds, of which you get three included – penguin, gorilla and bear moulds.
These moulds are clipped together on a magic cage, in to which you then stuff the dough. Finish that and you clip the cage on to the zoo, which just slides in and you’re ready to go. All of these steps were as simple as possible, and everything slotted in to place easily, meaning very little adult supervision is required.
The final twist is a ‘winder walker’ that sits as the bottom of the zoo. You turn a handle on top of the structure and this both charges the walker, and pushes the cage down on to the walker. When you’ve wound the cage to the bottom it springs open and the creature you have made will walk down a ramp.
That’s really the core concept of the magic zoo. You can create 3-4 creatures with each colour, although there are only two walkers included so you sadly can’t built an army of dough zoo creatures. The kit includes a mould to make a fence for the zoo, and you could certainly use the remaining dough to create animals of your own, or additional features for the zoo.
If you’ve played with Play Doh then you’ll easily adapt to Moon Dough. If you already have a heaving Play Doh collection there’s little reason to switch, but for new adopters it might be worth giving Moon Dough a go first. In the long run you’ll have less dough to replace, and there’s certainly enough possible add on packs to keep you busy for a long time.