Keep Busy With Sensory Play

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Keep Busy With Sensory Play

March 15, 2020

Have you heard of sensory play for kids? Sensory play can start as young as 3 months old. This type of play involves one or more of the 5 senses, and allows children to experience new sensations in a safe and fun environment. There are numerous benefits to sensory play. Some being that Sensory play:

  1. Develops fine and gross motor skills
  2. Does not have to be messy ( think sensory bags and bottles, treasure baskets with different textures)
  3. Enhances creativity and imagination
  4. Is a great way to teach children about different subjects
  5. Helps a child’s language and vocabulary ( e.g. Role model what the materials feel like, wet, squishy, dry)
  6. Promotes cooperative play

One very common tool is to use a sensory bin. A sensory bin is a box or bin, that you fill with some kind of texture (can be dry like beans or rice, or wet like cooked spaghetti or whipped cream). Throw in a couple of play toys or spoons and cups and voila you have a sensory bin.You can also theme your bins such as an ocean themed water bead bean, or a dinosaur bin filled with different dry materials like colored sand and rocks. Sensory bins are great for kids because they receive loads of tactile (touch) stimulation, and it encourages imaginative play.

One thing we like to do in winter is bring in our water table and set it up in the basement for sensory play.  I find keeping a couple different bins on hand to rotate every few weeks works best. It is very important to monitor your child while they play to ensure they aren’t putting materials in their mouth. If your child still likes to ‘taste’ things, try bins such cooked colored spaghetti, different colored jello with plastic animals, or sensory bags where the material is inside a double zip locked bag that is duct taped shut. ( Another blog post on mess free sensory play is coming soon!)

Here is a list I created of some sensory bin/table fillers:

One of my kids favorites is creating a colored water station, where they get to mix the colors. All I use is clear containers each with a different primary water color and a large under the bed clear plastic storage container to hold everything. Add a couple empty clear containers so they can watch the colors mix. Some times I add water droppers or syringes for them to transfer water with. This is also an activity you can do in the bathtub and definitely one of our favorites on warm summer days.

Another favorite is making soap foam as seen above! Then we usually add cars for a car wash or animals for a bath. Scoops and a whisk are fun too! Here’s how to make it:

-2 Tbsp of dish soap or bubble bath

-1/4 cup water

-a mixer

-food coloring
In a bowl, add 2 Tbsp of dish soap and 1/4 cup of water.  Add food coloring to the mix if desired.  Mix on the highest possible setting for 1-2 minutes.  Your foam should be able to form stiff peaks that hold their shape.  Scoop it out into your sensory bin and repeat as necessary!
Here is another one of my kids favorites. Bring the beach to your house, with this fun mold-able sand sensory bin! Here is what you will need:
  • 5 cups of play sand
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil or baby oil

Combine the ingredients in your sensory bin and mix well. Add some shovels and sand toys for extra fun!

There are so many possibilities for fun sensory bins! Stay tuned as I will be creating a blog post on Mess Free Sensory Play as well as How to Dye Sensory Materials.

 

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