Sensory Play – Messing Around
Summer’s the perfect time for getting messy and being creative!
(Not edible, but definitely great fun!)
4 cups dirt
1 cup flour
Mix the dirt and flour with water until it molds and sticks together. Shape into cookies, pies, birds nests, and other shapes. Dry in the sun.
Homemade Sidewalk Chalk
Plaster of Paris
Small, paper cups
Fill small cups half full with Plaster of Paris. Add a heaping spoonful of dry tempera and stir to distribute the color. Pour in a small amount of water and stir quickly. (Add enough water so it looks like thick gravy.) Set until dry. Peel away the cup and you'll have great sidewalk chalk.
Adaptations: Children can write, draw pictures, or make hopscotch with the chalk. They can also design roads on which to ride bikes and tricycles. Challenge them to use their imaginations and create stores, traffic signs, and other symbols on the cement.
Save spray bottles from cleaning products. (Make sure you rinse them out well first!). Fill them with water and let the children squirt each other, water plants, clean lawn furniture, etc.
Adaptations: A sponge or paintbrush and a bucket of water will also entertain children for hours. They can sponge off a tree, their riding toys, or themselves. They can paint the house or playground equipment.
Liquid dish detergent
Fill the cup half way with water. Squirt in some dish detergent. Give children a straw and tell them to BLOW! (If you'll put a pin prick at the top of the straw, it's less likely that they'll suck up soapy water. I also have children practice blowing on their hand with the straw before we begin so they'll get the idea.) The bubbles will spill over the cup and are fun to pat on arms, legs, etc. It's great to run through the sprinkler after you "paint" your body with bubbles.
Adaptations: Add a drop of food coloring to the solution to make colored bubbles.
Give children a pan of water and an egg beater. (Most children have never seen one of these before except in books!) Add a squirt of detergent to the water and let them "beat" up some bubbles.
Rub A Dub Dub
Have children bring their washable dolls to school. Fill tubs with water and soap, then have a bathing party. Add sponges, wash clothes, and squirt bottles.
Adaptations: Let children wash doll clothes and hang them on a clothesline with spring clothespins.
Squirt shaving cream on windows and let children finger paint. Hose off with clean water.
Body Bubble Painting
Pour a small amount of water in a plastic bowl. Add a big squirt of detergent and several drops of food coloring. Bet with an egg beater until the bubbles overflow. Let the children “paint” their bodies with bubbles and then rinse off in a sprinkler.
Give children plastic containers (margarine tubs, ice cream containers, etc.) filled with water. Let them use paint brushes to “paint” the playground equipment, trees, toys, etc.
Hide shells and other small toys in a sandbox and let the children “dig” for treasures.
Panning for Gold
Spray small rocks and pebbles with gold spray paint. Dry. Hide in a sandbox or around the playground.
*This is really fun on St. Patrick’s Day!
Let children construct boats from two toilet paper rolls stapled together. Glue a triangular piece of construction paper to a craft stick and stick it between the rolls to make a sail.
*Mold boats from aluminum foil.
*Carve a boat from a bar of Ivory soap. Glue paper to a toothpick and insert it in the soap to make a sail. Make a raft from popsicle sticks. Lay down two sticks. Glue ten sticks on top of them. Dry and then decorate with markers.
*Give children recycled materials (trash and scraps) to use to create boats and things that float.