Tag Archives: sensory play

Shaving Cream Play

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Shaving cream in a tray.

Shaving cream in a tray.

A very easy activity for kids is letting them play with shaving foam. It’s easy to clean up with water and is lots of fun. It’s not good to eat though, so I prefer not to let Baby T near it, but L and A love squishing their hands into it.

Squishing and squashing.

Squishing and squashing.

Whisking.

Whisking.

We used a couple of plastic trays on top of a muck mat, in an attempt to contain the shaving foam. It’s nice to do this outside if the weather permits, where we can just hose the area down. L and A each had a tray with shaving cream in it. They used various utensils to mix and scoop it, but mostly they just liked to feel it, squish it and squeeze in through their fingers.

Mixing and spreading.

Mixing and spreading.

L pretended the shaving cream was part of her cafe and she made me a smoothie. A whipped her shaving cream up with a whisk, and somehow managed to get shaving cream all the way up her arms and on her face.

We have previously used shaving cream to practice writing spelling words in too. We just smooth a layer of shaving cream in the bottom of a tray, and then write the words using a finger to form the letters.

Messy fun!

Messy fun!

 

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Yellow Sensory Tub

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IMG_1314I gathered lots of yellow things from about our house and popped them into one of our sensory tubs yesterday. I was surprised by the amount of yellow things we just had lying about. There was a plate, bowl, spoon and fork, as well as some yellow lids, a silicone chocolate mould, felt shapes, plastic frogs, wooden pegs, a pom pom and pipe cleaner. And of course, the yellow sensory tub wouldn’t have been complete without a banana and a lemon.

Putting yellow things into the bowl.

Putting yellow things into the bowl.

Baby T went straight for the banana (he loves them) and tried to take a bite right through the skin. He was very happy when L peeled it for him, it quickly disappeared and he wasn’t interested in the skin. Then he took everything else out of the tub to look at it carefully. He put everything into the bowl and gave it a mix with the spoon. He tried to spear the pom pom with the fork, and he enjoyed banging the pegs against the plasticware.

Trying to pick up the lemon with the tweezers.

Trying to pick up the lemon with the tweezers.

We spoke a lot about the colour yellow, and the textures and shapes of the different items as Baby T explored the tub. L and A tickled him with the pipe cleaner, and pretended to make the frogs jump onto his head. Baby T really liked the lemon and the big plastic tweezer scoop, and spent a lot of time playing with these items. He tried to pick the lemon up with the tweezers many times, but it was far to big. He also took a bite out of the lemon… He wasn’t impressed with the taste, but he still wouldn’t let the lemon go.

Going for a big bite.

Going for a big bite.

Button Rainbow

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Feeling the buttons.

Feeling the buttons.

A made another rainbow today, this time using buttons. We have a big jar of old or odd buttons that are great for crafting with. A tipped the jar all over the mat, and enjoyed running her fingers through the buttons. She looked for unique or special buttons, such as shiny ones or particularly large ones.

Sorting into colours.

Sorting into colours.

She sorted the buttons into piles of like colours in preparation for making her rainbow. This was a good sorting activity for A, where she sometimes had to decide what colour a particular button was. For example, she had to decide whether some of the buttons were more orange and should go in the orange pile, or were they more red and go in the red pile. Picking up the buttons and placing them was also good for her fine motor skills.

Placing the buttons.

Placing the buttons.

A laid out the buttons on a piece of paper to form her rainbow. She started with the green buttons on the bottom because green was the least numerous colour, which she could tell from the size of the pile. Then she worked her way out through the colours. She didn’t glue the buttons down though, so she could reuse them for something else later.

Once A was finished, she packed up all of the buttons very carefully back into their jar.

Round Sensory Tub

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This week I collected some round objects for Baby T’s sensory tub. We had some soft and hard balls, an egg ring, plastic plate, cookie cutter, baby food jar lid, a round sponge, a toy ring, pom poms and other round lids.

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Baby T had a great time with this tub, especially throwing the balls around. He investigated each of the items, and we talked about the shape, colour and texture of the items with him. We also talked about other things that are round, like the wheels on the car.

He put the sponge through the ring over and over, before putting the pom poms through one at a time, and then trying the big woolen ball, which was much too large to fit through. He found this a bit frustrating, and after several attempts he went back to putting the sponge through the hole. He also spent quite a lot of time trying to put the small blue tupperware lid onto the cookie cutter. It was a good size to fit, but didn’t seal, so it kept falling off. The items that formed rings he wore as bracelets, even crawling around with them like that while laughing!

Putting the sponge through the ring.

Putting the sponge through the ring.

Trying to put a lid on the cookie cutter.

Trying to put a lid on the cookie cutter.

Clay Monsters

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IMG_8261L had previously used some clay at school for modelling, but this was the first time for A. We used white air drying clay, which I bought at Bunnings.

Our dry monsters.

Our dry monsters.

The clay was easy to work with, and the kids treated it much like they would have play dough. They enjoyed the sensation of squishing it in their fingers, and rolling it into balls and sausages. Once they got down to the serious business of shaping their monsters we added a little water to the clay to make it sticky enough to create features. Working with wet clay can get pretty messy too, so we worked on a muck mat, and had damp tea towels for hand (and face) wiping as necessary.

Using a paint brush to add detail.

Using a paint brush to add detail.

I let the kids decide what kind of monsters they would model, yet both of them decided to make serpent monsters. Neither of the kids are particularly keen on snakes, so perhaps they thought snake-shaped monsters would make very scary clay monsters.

Making the clay smooth with water.

Making the clay smooth with water.

A made her clay into a long body with a little head, while L made her snakey monster with a huge head and fangs. L used a paintbrush to add some details to her serpent, such as a mouth. A painted water along the body of her snake until it was very smooth. Her monster really looked like a snake, but she assured me that it was a really terrifying monster. A also made a funny little spotty blob monster, which she said was like a germ.

My monster with umbrella.

My monster with umbrella.

I also made a clay monster of my own, because playing with clay is just fun. My monster was a bit of a blob with four feet, and numerous eyes made by poking the clay with a toothpick. It is also holding a clay umbrella with a toothpick handle. The umbrella was L’s idea, and I love it, it made my monster very quirky, especially since it doesn’t have hands or even arms for that matter, so I think it is holding the umbrella with its side! It has a tail that looks a bit like the opening of a trumpet, and three spikes on its head, but no nose.

The germ monster.

The germ monster.

We placed the monsters onto plastic wrap so they wouldn’t stick to anything, and then left the monsters to dry completely, which took a few days. This was not helped by a bout of rain at the time, keeping the air moist. While they were drying we were careful not to move them or bump them.

L thought she might like to paint her monster once it was dry, but in the end we left them as is. I quite like all of the clay monsters that we made, and we have placed them onto a shelf for display.

 

Blue Sensory Tub

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Now that Baby T is getting older, I have been thinking of ways to get him more involved with out activities. Sensory tubs seem like a great start for him. I made up a very simple tub using blue items. I found a range of blue things from around the house, including a peg, ribbon, pom poms, straws, cup and a spiky dryer ball.

Ready for playing.

Ready for playing.

Putting the straw into the cup.

Putting the straw into the cup.

Baby T was very interested in the tub, and straight away pulled out the cup and curly straw. He spent a lot of time investigating the straw from all angles, and putting it into and out of the cup. He also put the end of the straw into his mouth just like his sisters do.

Tasting a pom pom.

Tasting a pom pom.

The pom poms were also popular, though he tried to put them into his mouth a lot. He licked all the pom poms a number of times too, I suppose their furriness was interesting on his tongue.

L tickled Baby T all over with the feather, making him laugh. He was particularly ticklish on the bottom of his feet, and around his ears. The feather also went in his mouth, as did almost everything in the tub. He even tried to bite a piece out of the sponge.

L put the blue clip into his hair, but he didn’t notice, he was too busy putting the smaller items into the cup and the bowl. He crunched up the muffin case, seemingly enjoying the sound that it made.

Crinkling a muffin case.

Crinkling a muffin case.

We let Baby T lead this activity. Throughout it we named each item he picked up, and described it. We talked about the colour blue, the textures and sizes of the items, as well as their uses. He spent much longer exploring this tub than I thought he might, he was extremely interested, and very happy with the contents of the tub. We will be doing more sensory tubs for him soon.

Coloured Rice for Sensory Play

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L’s school has been running a ‘paint and play’ or ‘stay and play’ program on a Friday morning for a while now. And we like to go along and enjoy it. There is usually some art and/or craft activities, toys, music, books, and sensory play. L liked in when she was still in preschool, and would probably still like to come to it if she didn’t have to be in class instead 🙂 I’ve been taking A regularly and she has made friends with some of the other kids that come regularly too. It is mostly other families that have older kids at the school. It is nice and easy to take L to class and then read books or do puzzles in the library until it’s time to gather under the trees at the front of the school for a play.

One of the sensory play items they sometimes have out is a huge tub of rainbow coloured rice. A loves it. A few times we’ve been, that is the only thing she has played with the entire time. She loves to run her fingers through it, pour it into different containers, spoon it around, put play animals in it, tell the other children it is hers and they can’t play with it…

I’d been thinking for a while that I should find out how to colour rice and make some for home, so I finally did. Turns out it’s pretty easy to do (thanks Powerful Mothering for showing me how!) A little bit of white vinegar mixed with food colouring in a ziploc sandwich bag made it super easy. I used about a cup of rice for each colour until I ran out of rice. A helped by putting the rice into the cup measure for me. I wish I’d taken a photo of the kids mixing the colour through the rice in the bag. They really liked squishing it around and shaking it to get the colour on all of the rice. The colour would have been more vibrant had we used white rice, but we had some old brown rice in the cupboard that we weren’t going to eat, so we put it to good use. I think the colour still took fairly well, though the red and pink look rather similar.

Coloured rice drying.

Coloured rice drying.

The rice needed some time to dry so I spread it out on baking trays. I popped it in the oven on low

Coloured rice drying in the oven on low.

Coloured rice drying in the oven on low.

with the door propped open  for a little while to speed up the drying time, since it’s still so cold here I thought it would take ages to completely dry, and I couldn’t put it outside in the sun as it was too windy. It didn’t take too long to dry like this, though the kids asked when it would be ready several dozen times.

Ready to play with.

Ready to play with.

The kids started out with one colour each, but predictably, that didn’t last long, and we soon had rainbow rice. They also wanted a little bit more, so we added some plain white rice to the mix as well.

Feeling the rice.

Feeling the rice.

Mixing the colours together.

Mixing the colours together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They ran their hands through it, put their feet in it, mixed it with whisks and spoons, measured it, put it in sieves and poured it through funnels. They really enjoyed the feel of the rice.

Feeling the rice with their feet.

Feeling the rice with their feet.

Sifting the rice through a slotted spoon.

Sifting the rice through a slotted spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A's pet store.

A’s pet store.

L made her tub into a Chinese Restaurant, while A opened a pet store in her tub. A offered snakes, frogs, lizards, bugs, a polar bear and a camel for sale. She charged Big L $28 for a couple of lizards. L made us entrees of spring rolls and prawn crackers, mains of rainbow pork, and dessert of deep fried ice cream. She used the sieve to deep fry the ice cream, and some containers became the stove where she cooked the pork.

Making deep fried ice cream.

Making deep fried ice cream.

We had a wonderful time playing with the coloured rice. Not only was it a good sensory play activity, it also inspired some beautiful pretend play. I love watching the kids bringing their imaginations to life during pretend play, and it’s even better if I’m allowed to play too!

I have stored the rice in an airtight container for more play later, and the kids have asked that I make some more colours to add to the tub for next time.

 

Update March 29 2014:

Colouring the rice yellow.

Colouring the rice yellow.

I made two new batches of coloured rice today using white rice. The colours are much more vibrant, and I’m very happy with them. The kids wanted yellow, and I made some more red. It was sunny and calm today too, so I was able to put the trays outside to dry. It took much less time than our earlier batches. Once it was all dry, I mixed the new colours in with the others. The kids are very happy with their rainbow rice.

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New yellow rice.

New red rice.

New red rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new mix of colours.

The new mix of colours.

 

Play Foam

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IMG_4925A received some play foam for Christmas. It looks like tiny coloured balls of foam, and is a little sticky. They had some of this at her playschool last year, and the kids all loved it. It had said something on the pack like, it never dries out, and doesn’t stick to floors, carpets and clothing, so it is an easy clean up. I know from playschool that if it falls on the ground outside, it is near impossible to remove the dirt, grass and leaves from it, and if you happen to tread on some and don’t notice straight away, it is very difficult to remove from the bottom of your shoe. With this in mind, I placed a muck mat down, and then put the play foam into one of our play tubs, just in case.

The play foam came in a pack that was sectioned into different colours. It did not stay in separate colours for very long though. A immediately started squishing it through her fingers, and mixing the colours, so soon it was rainbow play foam.

Squashing the colours together.

Squashing the colours together.

More squishing.

More squishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making cupcakes.

Making cupcakes.

She likes to roll it into little balls and sausages, and mould it into various shapes, but what she likes best is to squash it! She also used some muffin cases and made pretend cupcakes with some plastic straws for candles. She shared the pretend cakes out, and we had a little tea party. Then she asked me to help her roll all of the play foam into a big ball. Once we’d done that she put some straws into the ball, and told me she was making a hedgehog.

The big ball becoming a hedgehog.

The big ball becoming a hedgehog.

It was a pretty easy clean up, with any stray bits of foam being picked up with the big ball, and it didn’t stick to anything other than itself. I did take precautions though, and warned A not to move it off the muck mat.

A's hedgehog ready for bed.

A’s hedgehog ready for bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed playing with the play foam as well, I like the feel of it, and so did L. It is easy to mould into shape, and holds its shape well. It should keep for a long time for future play, so long as we look after it, and don’t let it get too dirty or fluffy.

 

Cold Coloured Spaghetti

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It seemed like it was about time that Baby T got involved in some messy play with L and A. I wanted something that he could have fun with, but that wouldn’t be too bad if he ate some of it. So I decided that cooked spaghetti would be great to try. Of course, after cooking the spaghetti, it had to be completely cold before the kids could play with it.

I wanted to make the spaghetti coloured. I thought that if I cooked the spaghetti first, and then mixed food colouring through it, the food colouring would probably just rub off on the kids when they played with it. So I cooked the spaghetti in four batches, each with a different food colour added to the water during the cooking. This worked quite well, and gave us some lovely, vibrant colours. When I tipped the coloured spaghetti into the colander, I rinsed it thoroughly with cold water to cool it quickly and to wash any excess colour away. Some of the colour still came off on the kids’ skin, but it washed off easily. L and A kept trying to eat bits of it too, even though it was cold.

Red, green, blue and purple spaghetti.

Red, green, blue and purple spaghetti.

We started with four separate colours of spaghetti in a tub, but it quickly became mixed together. All of the kids really enjoyed this simple activity, running it through their fingers, squishing it, swirling it around. And because it was a bit sticky, they also enjoyed lifting their hands in the air and wobbling about the spaghetti that was stuck to them. Baby T also enjoyed throwing it, mushing it on his tummy, putting it in his hair, and trying to eat it several times. Overall, he had a ball with it.

First impressions.

First impressions.

Enjoying the spaghetti.

Enjoying the spaghetti.

Really getting into it.

Really getting into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while we added some water to the tub to see what would happen. This made the spaghetti slippery instead of sticky, and provided a new sensory experience for them.

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This was a very messy activity, and I was very glad we’d decided to do it outside. The kids came in one by one for a bath each, and I attempted to pick up as much of the spaghetti off the grass as possible. There was plenty of grass mixed up in it by then, so I put it in our compost bin. All the kids have asked to do this sensory activity again soon.

Flour Play

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Big L and I were busy outside sanding and painting (more on that later), and the kids were bored (despite all the fun outdoor equipment in the yard). I was a bit sick of being asked when it would be dry, so I tipped some plain flour into two of the sensory tubs to entertain them. They used various kitchen implements such as measuring cups, spoons, whisks and funnels to play with the flour. The little plastic animals went in too.

Making flour castles with the sieve.

Making flour castles with the sieve.

A started with her hands, then put her feet in, and then she climbed into the tub. Not to be left out, L hopped in too. They covered themselves in flour, made a huge mess, but boredom was banished!

Having fun in the flour.

Having fun in the flour.