Sensory play isn’t simply about seeing your child’s changing face as they explore colours, textures, shapes and smells – there is proven evidence that it builds nerve connections in developing brains, supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills and enhances memory function. It is also a brilliant way to pacify a child that is feeling anxious, upset or frustrated.
Miss Hannah, one of our wonderful Reception teachers, is a bit of an expert on simple sensory play ideas for parents to use at home. Here are a few to keep your little ones entertained over the holidays…
Fluffy Sand Slime
You will need: Shaving Cream • Sand • A Bucket • A Mixing Spoon
1. Fill a bucket or bowl or bin with sand
2. Add a generous amount of shaving cream to it!
3. Mix until light and fluffy and whipped like foam.
4. You can tweak the amount of shaving cream needed by the consistency you like and how much sand you use! Want to change it? Simply add more of one and mix again!
You will need: Cornstarch • Water • Food Colouring • 6 Bowls and Spoons • Cookie Sheet
1. Make mini batches of oobleck. put about 1/3 cup of cornstarch into each container (6).
2. Mix almost a 1/4 cup of water with different colors. (6)
3. Add the water to the cornstarch and mix. I repeated this for all 6 colours of the rainbow to make coloured oobleck. You can always make whatever colours you like!
Lemon Scented Rice
You will need: White Rice • Lemon Juice • Yellow Food Coloring (for different shades) • A tray/tub to play in with • Fun Scoops/Bowls
1. Secure one cup of rice into a container with lid.
2. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice (pretty strong scent with this amount, adjust to preference).
3. Add the desired amount of food colouring.
4. Spread on a paper towel and let dry (30 mins for ours) 5. Play!
Silky Soap Slime
You will need: 1 x Bar of Ivory soap • Paper towel or a microwave-safe dish • Microwave • Other brands of soap for comparison (optional)
To perform the soap trick
1. Place the bar of soap on a paper towel or microwave-safe dish.
2. Microwave your soap. Watch the soap closely to see what happens.
3. Depending on microwave power, your soap will reach its maximum volume within 90 seconds to 2 minutes. If you microwave the soap longer (we went up to 6 minutes) nothing bad will happen, but the soap won’t continue to grow.
4. Allow the soap to cool for a minute or two before touching it.
5. The soap will feel brittle and flaky, but it’s still soap, with the same cleaning power as before. Go ahead and get it wet and you’ll see it lathers the same.
So now you have this awesome mass of Ivory soap that looks like a fluffy cloud. What can you do with it? Make soap slime of course! Get coloured water and eye droppers. Squirt coloured water all over the soap. Provide a tray filled with 1/4-1/3 of the way with lukewarm water. Provide whisks and potato mashers. See the magic occur.
Ice Block Play Tray
You will need: Eyedroppers • Squirt Bottles • Toys of your choice • Salt
1. Freeze Toys in layers in a milk carton to make a frozen activity.
2. When your block is frozen solid, tear away the milk carton. Place it in a container.
3. Fill Squirt bottles with salty warm water. Let your child explore!
You will need: 2 cups plain flour • 1/2cup salt • Up to1½ cups boiling water • 2tbsp. oil • 2tbsp cream of tartar • Food colouring • Mixing bowl • Spoon
1. Mix the flour, cream of tartar, salt and oil together.
2. Add a couple of drops of food colouring to the water and then pour it into the dry ingredients.
3. Leave to cool and knead until it stops being sticky.
4. Allow the children to explore and play with it.
5. Store in an airtight container.