Gettin’ Squishy With It! By Molly Olivo
Apart from #trending on Instagram, sensory play is a great developmental tool that helps kids with their language skills, fine motor development, science exploration and sensory needs. Explore these ideas for easy sensory play at home. Kids need sensory input, and these projects are sure to satisfy their needs, as well as yours (five minutes without Paw Patrol!).
Squishy color-mixing bags - Fill a ziploc bag with shaving cream and food coloring, zip it closed. (And put a piece of tape over the opening... You really don’t want that popping open in the middle of playtime.) Let your little one squish it and spread the colors, creating designs in the cream, identifying different textures and exploring. For a fun bonus, add some little plastic animals to unearth as they squish. You can also use hair gel or aloe gel with pom poms or beads inside. Give it a squish yourself, you know you want to!
Bookish sensory bins - Pick a favorite book and build a bin around the theme. (Or order one of the delightful sensory kits featured on our website!) Read a book about the ocean and fill a bin with water, ocean animal figurines, and tools to pick things up with (spatulas, spoons, cups). Read the book, explore the bin and talk about what is inside. Kids are great at noticing differences, exploring textures and telling stories. Not only is this super fun, but it’s also a great way to dive deeper into a book with a younger child. Call or email Child’s Play if you’d like suggestions on book/bin pairings.
Colored rice/pasta bins - It is simple and cheap to dye pasta or rice (just food coloring and white vinegar), and there is something endlessly satisfying about the sound and feel of it between your fingers. Hide some alphabet stickers on the bottom of the bin to find and add a few teacups for filling and sorting. Your preschooler will be entertained for hours...or at least 10 minutes.
Glitter sensory bottles - Often called “calm down” bottles (but who likes to be told to calm down???), these tubes of slowly swirling glitter are a delight to make as well as watch. Let your kid pick the colors, add the glitter, find a few things to hide inside, then seal it up and let the entrancing swirls take you to your happy place. There are a million recipes, but warm water, glitter glue and baby oil are popular ingredients. Try some different ones and see how they work. This would be a great experiment for older kids, too.
Get trendy with us and try your hand at creating a sensory play experience this week!