Sensory Play Fun

Messes. Dirt. A tandum of toddler tornadoes reign in our home. But here’s the thing….about a year ago I decided to stop fighting it. All it did was stress me out and make me a crabby mom instead of a fun one. Now we embrace the mess of sensory play fun…colored rice? Shaving cream? Paint? Bring. It. On. Sensory play truly can’t get any more fun.

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Here are some of our favorite ways to get down and dirty with sensory play fun, no matter the weather outside.

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BAKING SODA

First off, let me introduce you to the heavy hitter in my sensory play arsenal: baking soda. You may think that it is only something for baking, cleaning, or keeping your fridge smelling nice, but you are oh so wrong. Since baking soda is a very basic product, it interacts with anything and everything acidic in a powerful and sometimes explosive way.

Since baking soda tends to be a component of much of our play, we like to play with it by itself before introducing any other elements. Add scoops and spoons, and it is fun to interact with when the beach is way too cold or way too far away.

 

SENSORYPLAYvinegar

BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR

Get ready for a bit of a stinky mess whenever you and your littles combine baking soda and vinegar. Since the combination of these two products yields a loud fizz, this type of sensory play delights both young and old. Our favorite thing to do is to fill squirt bottles with vinegar and a couple drops of food dye, and then let the boys squirt the vinegar into a pan lightly lined with baking soda. Just be ready for everyone to smell like vinegar before bath time rolls around.

 

SENSORYPLAYshavingcream

SHAVING CREAM PAINTING

One of my favorite memories of being an adolescent was when my friends and I would have shaving cream fights. We love them….our parents….not so much. But since shaving cream is an interestingly soft and smooth product to play with, I let my kids experiment with the substance in a controlled way. How, you ask? We paint it! Put together a paint palette of washable paint for each of your little ones and let them use a layer of shaving cream as their canvas. They can make really neat abstract designs without making too much of a mess.

 

SENSORYPLAYcoloredbath

COLORFUL BATHS

Fun sensory baths are my absolute favorite way to get the boys involved in creative and imaginative play. For this bath that I am featuring, we used one of their favorite books, The Big Red Barn, as inspiration. We took out all of our farm toys and dyed the water red and splashed until their fingers were like prunes.

 

SENSORYPLAYpudding

EDIBLE PAINTING

We go through a TON of finger paint in our house, but lucky for me I found a great idea on Pinterest to use pudding as finger paint. That worked just fine (and smelled really great) when my boys were very little, but now that they are older I needed to modify the recipe a touch. Instead of getting chocolate pudding, I get vanilla pudding and add a couple of drops of food dye to create different colors for their painting creations. And the best part? I don’t have to worry about them getting any in their mouth—I actually encourage it!

 

SENSORYPLAYplaydough

PLAY DOUGH

Who doesn’t love play dough? Just the act of molding and shaping something with your hands seems to be a great stress reliever for the young and old. But since my boys tend to ruin the expensive play dough by mixing together all of the colors and often forgetting to put the lids on the jars, we now make homemade play dough. Not only is it fun to make, they love being able to add the “extras” such as a few drops of herbs like cinnamon or lavender oil.

Here is our favorite playdough recipe-minus the spiders.

 

I feel like this post should have been sponsored by a paper towel or bath soap company, but it isn’t. Instead, it is just one mom telling another to lighten up, get a little dirty, and make some awesome memories.

Looking for other fun things to do at home? Check out our family’s favorites!

Have fun!

Amanda

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Comments

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    Those are all awesome ideas! My little guy always loved sensory activities like these when he was little.

  2. Chanelle says

    I love this post because I’ve been looking for activities to keep my toddler occupied. I agree with you, you just have to get over the mess they’ll make. I leave play doh and WASHABLE water color paints out in her room. I like your shaving cream paint idea and will try that soon!

    • amandasimkin says

      It’s such a fun and stress-free way to play, especially with little ones who tend to put things in their mouths.

    • amandasimkin says

      We buy it in bulk since there are so many fun uses for it…my boys especially like any kind of explosion they can. Typical boys, eh?

  3. Tami says

    My little guy would enjoy the baking soda fun. I need to spend more time one-on-one with him doing more than reading books and coloring. He’s quite bored with the coloring.

  4. Rebecca Swenor says

    These are some very awesome sensory play ideas indeed. I will have to check out the play dough recipe for my niece’s kids when they come over to my house. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Yona Williams says

    Shaving cream painting sounds really fun – the foaminess probably really elevates the fun. Vinegar and baking soda is a classic – I think at least every kid has had an experience with it, don’t you think? Never gets old.

  6. Victoria says

    When I ran a daycare I use to fill gallon bags with shaving creme and a bit of food coloring and let the kids squish them. The more the squished the more the color would blend. They really enjoyed it.

  7. Chrissy Mazzocchi says

    It looks like they had such a fun time! Great idea to play with these, I’ll try it with my daughter.

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