Sensory Play and The Water Nation Station

It’s a snowy/rainy day today so we’ve been doing lots of indoor activities to keep the munchkins happy. And so that I don’t go permanently cross-eyed and pull out all my hair.

I LOVE SENSORY PLAY. There are a number of benefits for motor skills as well as just increasing sensory powers (at least I think that’s the scientific term). Here’s the thing though: it’s pretty messy. For me, it’s not usually a time when I can just let the kids go-at-it while I get some laundry done, or make dinner. Typically, I’m right there with them. Which is a really fun time for me, but I do need to prep myself, take a deep breath, and let the laundry sit for a while. It’s going to be okay.

So here are some of our favorite sensory activities…

 

Shaving Cream

Supplies: shaving cream and a cookie sheet.

Squirt some shaving cream on the cookie sheet…

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He was bummed out because he only got a squiggle and not a happy face. I know…I’m the meanest.

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Then let them smear it all around.

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 If your child is sensitive to this at first, try giving them a paintbrush, or old toothbrush to smear with. This will help them ease into it.

Once they’ve had enough fun smearing, they can practice writing letters, or draw pictures.

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You can also add different textures like uncooked rice, or a few teaspoons of salt.

Next up: Rice and Beans

This is one that can get super messy, especially with younger children (and occasionally with an accident-prone mom who knocks the bowl over, creating a lovely cascading waterfall of rice over the kitchen table and sprinkling the entire kitchen floor. At least I’ve heard that can happen.). But the texture is wonderful to stimulate all those touchy-feely sensors.

You can definitely use plain ol’ white rice, but we colored ours by putting some rice in a few separate bowls, then adding a couple teaspoons of rubbing alcohol and a drop of food coloring. Let it dry and then mix it all together.

This one’s pretty simple…just let them dig. We used to have a lot more rice; it filled a whole tub. But over time, it’s gotten sucked up by the Dust Buster from spills.

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We like to add “treasures” to ours…

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Second runner up to our favorite goes to…

Gack.

Supplies: cornstarch and water.

Directions: Mix One part water to two parts cornstarch

This is that stuff that’s part solid, part liquid. I played with it so much as a kid that I had to start using my allowance money to buy my own cornstarch.

There’s not a whole lot to it. Just squish, dribble, poke.

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Again, if you have a tactile-sensitive child on your hands, start out slow. Use a spoon or even a play knife to see how the gack scoops and cuts.

Over time as my kids have learned to keep the gack contained to the designated area, this has been an activity that I can leave them alone with while I go take care of some chores. Or (let’s just be honest) check Facebook.

And our very favorite sensory play is…

Moon Sand!

Supplies: Flour and Baby Oil

Directions: Mix eight parts flour to one part baby oil. I keep ours in a big tub (the one that used to belong to the rice).

This stuff is super fun. It works the same as sand at the beach, only it’s softer…

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You can make sand castles, bury treasure, make sand pies and cakes. Just about anything you’d do with beach sand.

Aaaaaand a bonus…

The Water Nation Station!!

(Otherwise known as “Water, a Tub, and Kitchen Utensils”. But that’s not quite as appealing.)

Since the weather’s so crummy today, we brought the soon-to-come-summer-fun indoors. I even let the kids wear their bathing suits. 🙂

At first they just poured the water in the tub and back and forth between each other’s pitchers…

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Then we added a couple of other elements. Super high-tech, I know…

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We’re working on his aim. (And not just aiming water…)

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And one last element, I put some soap and water in bowls to have some bubble fun…

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And now, with my eyes fully functioning and hair intact, it’s quiet time. Ahh…

Quick Kids’ Quilt

My man was gone this week, so I spent the evenings working on a quilt for my daughter. I ordered the fabric from Etsy and the kind seller sent me some fun swatches along with my order. So, while I sewed pieces together for the real quilt, the kids had fun making a “quilt” of their own. All it took was a bowl of water, the fabric scraps and a fridge. 

Dip the fabric in the water…

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…and smack it to the fridge.

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Super simple and fun (especially for those rainy day schedules).