Sensory Play Snow

by Kim

 

Not everyone gets snow. Not everyone that gets it likes to take their kids out in it. I came across a neat recipe for “snow” on Pinterest. {By the way, if you are not on Pinterest you should be! Allie’s stuff is all over the place around there, too. ;) } You can find the original post about it here on Flights of Whimsy. She calls it cloud dough, I call it snow.

I made half of the recommended amount she posted. So for my version you will need:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of baby oil

Yes, baby oil. Your room is going to fill with the sweetest little smell and take you back to milk breath (without the sleepless nights, of course).

You and your child can count out the scoops it takes to equal 4 cups. Go ahead and let them dump it in.

Now measure out 1/2 cup of baby oil. Your child can easily pour this right on the mountain of flour.

First my daughter stirred with a spatula. Then she mixed it with her hands because it will clump a little. It is very easy to break up and continue mixing, though.

The texture is so nice. If your children have played with Moon Dough, it is very similar. It is light and fluffy. The scent is very relaxing. This is a fantastic sensory project. We mixed ours in a bowl, but moved it to a bin to play.

It molds easily. We used small bundt cake pans to make mounds and igloos. But the favorite was snowballs, which we threw into the mixing bowl to watch them shatter.

The dust from this does initially stick to your hands, but it brushes off remarkably easy.

 

 

Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

How To Make A Simple and Frugal Sensory Tub

Sensory experiences for kids don’t have to be a show stopping three ring circus. I like making elaborate sensory tubs especially for my son since he is getting older and needs ones with specific tasks ( like finding letters, words or sorting objects in them) but a true basic sensory bin is an amazing educational tool. My toddler is just getting to the perfect age for this at 16 months. Exploring the small hard filler, using a spoon and scoop to transfer the grains from one spot to the next and practicing things like sharing with me as we play. Please don’t feel like you need to have all the bells and whistles because for toddlers it’s best to keep it simple and let them discover.

  1. Gather your materials. For this tub I bought some popcorn, barley and dried beans. Total cost for the grains was $2.34. The pumpkins were bought at a patch for $1 for 2 and the spoons and scoop are from my kitchen.  The tub was under $2 and I reuse it by putting the filler from previous tubs into ziplocks and storing to re-use. We had a canning funnel to play with but all she wasnted to do was this which was cute but we moved it to the side so we could get down to digging.
  2. A tip when doing a sensory bin with small grains and a small child. Do it on carpet, if a spill does happen it won’t scatter. You can easily vacuum it up.
  3. Also I am asked all the time how I deal with my daughter putting the beans and grains in her mouth. She doesn’t generally but that is why I use such small grains , they will taste gross if she tried to chew them but they are so small they pose a very small risk of being a chocking hazard. Still stay within arms reach at all times. I used our coffee table ( which is technically a bench)  and sat on the opposite side the while time the tub was within her reach. If your child is not ready for these try this one we made last year
  4. Practice scooping , pouring, talk about the colors of the spoons. Today I think we may have learnt which spoon is yellow and which is orange … I think. I do know we practiced sharing the spoons back and forth accross the table.
  5. I found this interesting, she is cleaning up some of the grains that spilled out. Not something her brother was interested in at her age.

We played with this simple sensory tub for much of the time we had between lunch and picking her brother up from school.  Simple, fun and educational.

Mining For Magnets!

minig for magnets science sensory tub

My mom returned from an Alaskan cruise with this super cool mining hat for my son and I knew I wanted to use it as a prop for an activity. He is all about pretend play and dress up The same way I use super heroes to get him excited to write I used this new hat for this fun sensory activity. Even though we used magnets you could do this with pinchers , a small scoop or just wee little hands!  Older kids ready for magnets though will love how the wand helps them mine for the ” diamonds”.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some dried beans , lentils or rice, a container, a magnetic wand with steel ringed chips or marbles .
  2. Pour the dried beans/ rice in the container. A lot of parents email me saying that they are shocked that their 4-7 year olds still like sensory bins. I am not surprised in the least.  Especially when you have them help make them and there is a little task involved ( though never required).
  3. Add the magnetic chips – we were pretending they were diamonds.
  4. Start mining. Count, sort do whatever you want with the treasures you mine.
  5. The only thing you must do is have fun!

Book

Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard and not giving up on your dreams.  The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s.  My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing and in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.

Butterfly Sensory Tub

I love what we call butterfly pasta. Not only does my son eat it well, he plays with it well too.  We made this ages ago but between Easter and Mother’s Day crafts it got lost in the shuffle. As we pulled it out to play with it again I remembered I never posted this sensory activity. Although I didn’t photograph it I popped some of these butterflies into a clear Take and Toss sippy cup through a lid on it and my daughter has been using it as a shaker for weeks. So many uses!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some bowtie ( butterfly) pasta, food coloring, vinegar, ziploc bags, cookie sheets, a medium sized plastic tub, scoops, a divided tray and play tongs. You can also through in some penne pasta as ” Caterpillars”.
  2. Start by putting a few drops of your favorite food coloring into a ziploc.
  3. Add 1 tbsp of white vinegar.
  4. Throw in a few handfuls of pasta. Shake until all the liquid is gone.
  5. Pour out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper to dry. The vinegar smell will lessen in time, even if it’s strong initially in a day or two it will be all but gone.
  6. Make multiple colors.
  7. Pour dry dyed pasta into a bin with scoops for little ones to explore, add penne pasta as caterpillars.
  8. Using a divided tray you can sort the pasta by color using tongs.

Spring Garden Sensory Tub

spring sensory activities

Sensory bins are such great teaching tools and for this one I wanted it not just to look like a spring garden but to feel like one too. So we stuck with earthy natural colors, all natural contents ( minus the tongs and pots) and talked about how we can ( and will) plant some of the beans from the bin and track it’s growth.  The big lima beans we used are big enough to be a chocking hazard for little ones so remember to only use contents that fit your children’s specific level of development.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some dried split peas, large dried Lima beans, dried orange lentils, dried white beans, mini bow tie pasta and some small flower pots. You will also need a tub – this one was a dollar at Walmart.
  2. Start by pouring the dried beans and lentils into the tub.
  3. Next add a handful of butterflies ( the dry bow tie pasta).
  4. Add some mini flower pots and explore.
  5. My son was fascinated by the lima beans , they are not a staple on our dinner table.
  6. You can simply scoop and pour with the flower pots
  7. Or grab some tongs and sort and count.

Books About Gardening


The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. Carle’s distinctive collage will keep your children marveling at the illustrations while learning about plants.

The Gardener

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It’s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle’s bakery because both her parents are out of work. She is obviously nervous but knows that it’s something she has to do. She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets which she plants in the city while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncles employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times, and would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child. There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about , from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and the general sense of sadness . In the end it’s a warm hearted book that I can’t wait to share with my son in a few years.


Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well. Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.