A few weeks ago I planned some fun activities to do with my grandchildren. I like to do things frugally when I can, so I purchased a can of shaving cream at the Dollar Store. Shaving cream is a great sensory product for children who don’t put things in their mouth.
Before I let the grandchildren play with the shaving cream, I got a dish pan(from the Dollar Store) and filled it half way with water. I also had some towels available. I do this to make clean up easier. I did this activity outside but it could also be done in the house.
Shaving Cream Fun
They had a small child size picnic table that we used. I squirted the shaving cream on the table and let them at it. After a little while, I asked my eight year old grandson if he wanted to play tic tac toe in the shaving cream. He thought it was a cool idea. I had him look for a couple of sticks to use as our writing instrument. We could have also used our finger.
Tic Tac Toe and Shaving Cream
For those children who may not want to touch the shaving cream or they still put things in their mouth, you can put some shaving cream in a ziplock bag and seal it. Let them play with it and squish it.
What does your child like to do with shaving cream?
This is a fun activity that the children can do.
Materials: 1 potato per child, grass seeds, container or cup to hold potato
Procedure: Cut the top off of a potato and hollow out about 1/4 inch down. Have the children sprinkle grass seed in the hollowed part. Set upright for 3-4 days. The potato will soon have a growth of green “hair”. The children may then decorate a face. The moisture in the potato waters the grass.
Are you looking for a different sensory material to make? Do you love coffee? This recipe has a great feel to it and it uses dried coffee grounds. If you don’t drink coffee or have access to anyone who does drink it, check with Starbucks or a local coffee shop to get some of their used coffee grounds.
4 cups dried used coffee grounds
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
Mix ingredients together. Put in sand or water table for scooping, pouring, measuring, feeling, and smelling. Keep in Ziploc bag or covered plastic container.
To dry coffee grounds:
Place in shallow tray or box and let air dry. You can also leave it out in the sun for several hours to dry.
There are a plethora of ideas going around on Pinterest and various blogs of sensory ideas to do with children. When I first started teaching, preschool children got to play with playdough and play in the sandbox. Now sensory play is more intentional and children have a variety of sensory things to try. There are themed sensory ideas as well as a variety of materials to play with.
Here are 5 blogs that offer many great sensory ideas:
Where do you like to find your ideas?
What age do you start having your infant/toddler/preschooler start playing with sensory tubs? There are many ideas available on Pinterest and blogs on the internet of sensory activities that you can do with your child. There are even ones for infants/toddlers.
When I was over at my daughter’s house last week to play with our grandchildren I brought along some fall sensory things to play with. My two granddaughters ages 4 and 17 months old was interested in playing with the sensory tub.
The 17 month old loved pouring, scooping, and playing with the toys that were inside the tub. I was sitting right there with her, to make sure she wouldn’t put the small things in her mouth. She did great playing with it, had lots of fun, and didn’t put anything in her mouth.
The only drawback was the rice got everywhere with the toddler, especially when she was trying to pour. Next time, I may set a sheet or old tablecloth down on the floor and put the tub on top of that. This way if any rice gets on the sheet when she is done I can just gather it up and dump the rice back into the sensory tub.
H(4) and N(17 months) playing with the fall sensory tub.
H & N playing with the fall sensory tub.
Recently my daughter asked me to make some pink rice for my granddaughter to play with. She’s been having fun pouring and scooping white rice and my daughter wanted to have it colored. This is a great way to reinforce colors as well as having fun learning the different colors.
To color the rice – take 1 cup of white rice, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and a few drops of food coloring. Pour in ziploc bag and mix well. After you are done mixing the colored rice pour in a shallow tray and let dry for several hours. You can repeat this to have multiple colors. Word of caution – even though the colored rice is very pretty when separated, when you give a few colors to your child to play with inevitably they will mix the colors and may not look as pretty. They will still have a great time playing with it.
A fun way to help my granddaughter learn her ABC’s is to get some sparkly foam shaped letters and add it to the colored rice. You may also want to print the ABC’s and place it on a tray for them to match up the letters.
Pink colored rice with ABC’s
Each week I will be sharing names of blogs/websites that have great ideas of activities to do with children. This week I will list some blogs that have wonderful ideas of sensory activities for children to play with.
At www.countingcoconuts.blogspot.com she has many wonderful ideas for different sensory tubs. Some of the themes she has: The Wizard of Oz, Brave – from the movie, Angry Birds, Birthday, Back to School, Dinosaurs, Robots, Ice Cream, Transportation, and a Farm sensory tub. Visit her blog for additional ideas.
At www.giftofcuriosity.com she also has a variety of sensory ideas.
A Cinnamon Maple Salt Tray from www.mynearesstanddearest.com is a great way to begin a fall sensory activity.
Over at dirtandboogers.com she has over 25 Sensory Tray ideas.
Check Pinterest for more Sensory Play ideas.
There are many ideas and suggestions for sensory play on the internet. You could find a new one to do each week if you wanted to.
I purchased some colorful foam blocks at the Dollar Store. I wasn’t sure yet how I was going to use them, but I wanted to have them. When my youngest grandson was over he saw the blocks and immediately tried to put it in his mouth. I didn’t want him to choke on them and also I didn’t want any chew marks on them so I decided to put them in a plastic bottle.
Materials needed to make foam blocks shaker bottle.
I had an empty clear plastic bottle from juice that I used. The blocks fit great in them. I decided to add some bells that I had so when he shakes it, it will make some noise. After putting the blocks and bells in I hot glued the lid so it won’t open and the contents won’t fall out.
Foam Blocks Shaker Bottle
Here are some fun things that you can do with your children:
Straw painting fireworks: Materials needed are white paper, red and blue paint, and straws. Put some red and blue paint on the paper and have your child blow the paint around with the straw. Make sure that they blow out and don’t suck up the paint.
Marble Roll: Materials needed are white paper, red and blue paint, a marble or golf ball and a box lid to contain paper and marble. Put paint on the paper and have your child roll the marble around. I would suggest that you do one color at a time and let dry. If you did both colors at the same time you would end up with purple.
For sensory play gather red, blue, and white objects. Or you can gather red and blue objects and use white rice for the base.
Make a snack with strawberries, blueberries, and vanilla yogurt. You can make a parfait and layer the strawberries, yogurt, and blueberries for your red, white, and blue theme.
Check out Pinterest for more ideas.
Happy 4th of July!!
On a recent trip to the farmer’s market my grandchildren stopped at a vendor who displayed a water tub and duplos to play with. It was a local children’s museum that had the idea.
When my daughter got home she knew what she could do so her children could have some fun. She set out a couple of water tubs and added duplo toys that the children had. They were engaged for quite some time playing, building, and seeing if it floats or sinks.
My oldest grandson age 6 found a regular lego in with it and decided to use that as people. He got some more of the bricks to be people (he didn’t use the actual lego people). I like how creative children can be and think outside the box. The duplos were just sitting around in the closet not being used until they were brought out for water play.
What things does your child like to play with in the water? Anything unusual?