The Blogging from A-Z Challenge continues today. Every day throughout April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting a range of ideas and tips for keeping your family entertained at home. It will include arts and crafts, games, learning ideas and imaginative activities for all ages. I thought it would be particularly useful while we’re all self-isolating or socially distancing, though it can be used for any time of year.
Letter “S” is for Sensory Play. Sensory play is any kind of activity that stimulates the 5 senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. It’s fun for kids of all ages and helps to develop knowledge of colours, textures, descriptive language and basic science principles. It can also be very relaxing for grown-ups or children who feel anxious or overwhelmed.
Below are some easy ideas for sensory play activities you can try at home with simple ingredients.
- Have fun with play-doh. If you don’t happen to have any you can always make your own. Roll it out and use it to make pretend food like cookies, create creatures like snakes or snails or make “fossils” by printing plastic bugs and dinosaurs. You can find more inspiration at The Artful Parent and Hands-on as We Grow.
- Get some Kinetic Sand. Seriously, this stuff is amazing! It has the texture of real wet sand but none of the mess. The first time we played with some I was mesmerised!
- Make your own slime! Rainbow colours and glitter optional. BBC Good Food have a great slime recipe, just remember that it’s not edible!
- Play “What’s in the Box?” Cut out a hand-sized hole in several small boxes and hide items with interesting textures inside. You could try things like cold pasta, rice pudding, sandpaper, feathers, bubble wrap, marshmallows, and so on. Then let the kids take turns to put their hands inside and guess what it is they’re feeling!
- Make your own bath paints with corn starch, food colouring and either shampoo or shaving foam.
- Try a blindfolded taste test of various foods and condiments from your kitchen cupboards.
- Make rainbow pasta or noodles! Once cooked, place them in a zip-lock bag with about 10 drops of food colouring and a splash of vinegar and shake until evenly coated, then leave to dry just long enough to stop the colour coming off on your hands. Then lay them out on a (covered) table and let the kids explore them.
- Put some small toys (lego, dinosaurs, etc.) in a Tupperware pot filled with water and place in the freezer. On a hot day, the kids can chip away at the ice with some play tools or cutlery until they can get to the toys inside.
- Mix up a tray of washing-up liquid and water and make your own bubble wands out of pipe cleaners or by punching a hole in a plastic cup.
- Have a go at making your own bath bombs.
- Get messy outdoors and make a mud pie! You can recreate the experience indoors with things like hot chocolate powder and cereal.
Do you have any fun sensory play ideas, or perhaps some fond memories of doing something like this as a kid? Please share in the comments!