10 SQUISHY Sensory Ideas

Squishy Sensory Play!


We love sensory play around here. Seriously, it’s like 80% of our waking hours involve some sort of sensory stimulation. While we love gross motor activities, sometimes you need to bring it down a few notches. That’s when you find something to entertain and stimulate while sitting down! This list of Squishy Sensory Play ideas are awesome for children who need to fidget, without encouraging them to get out of their seat. Win! As an added bonus, on a homeschool level, many of these great ideas can be used as science experiments if you get the kiddo involved in the creating process, instead of just the finished product.

Squishy Sensory(This post may include affiliate links for which I may receive a commission)


Top 10 Tuesday

    1. Make your own playdoh! – This takes only minutes, is an awesome science and learning activity in itself, and makes the softest, squishiest dough around. You can add scents for an added sensory bonus. We like peppermint, lavender and citrus essential oils for everyday play and spices like allspice, pie spices and cinnamon for the winter holidays!
    2. Sensory Squishers- Kids love to squish! Start out with some colorful balloons. Fill them with rice, shaving cream, baking soda, beans, cotton, sugar, salt, sand, marbles, water, or even some of that awesome playdoh you just made! Anything you have laying around that will squish into a balloon will work! Fill the balloons tie them up and put them in a basket. Instant fun for kids of all ages! You can even add some string hair to the top and draw some silly faces 🙂 For older children you could even number them and write a master list. They will have a great time trying to figure out what is inside of each balloon using just their sense of touch!
    3.   Water Beads! – If you have little kids and you haven’t found these, you are waterbeadsmissing out on a lot of busy kid time! My children will play with these forever! They can be squished, swished, mixed, dumped, poured… there are so many ways to play. You may even find your hand in the water squishing with the kids! They come in large numbers (usually several thousand) because they start out as teeny tiny plastic beads. Add a couple tablespoons (no more!) to a large container of water, such as a plastic bin or kiddie pool, and watch as they grow (takes about 20 minutes). Then set your little ones free with bowls, cups and spoons. Mine love to hide small toys and then swish around to find them! For extra fun try a water bead bath! Just make sure they are collected before the plug comes out, as I wouldn’t trust them in the drain. When they are out of water they will dry up and return to their original size. They can, however, be kept in water (and easily accessible for play) for a very long time. Beware, once they are filled with water these little suckers are VERY bouncy!
    4. Fluffy Stuff – Its amazing what you can make with 1 box of simple corn starch and 1 can of shaving cream! Just dump a box of corn starch in a large bowl (this is fun to feel all by itself!) and then start squirting in shaving cream (we get ours at Dollar Tree!). They take a few squishy minutes to combine, but keep at it and in no time you will have a big batch fluffy stuff to play with! This is about as simple as it gets folks! This will keep for about a week in an air tight container but it will get a little less squishy and a little more moldable as time goes by.
    5. Silly Putty – Everyone loves silly putty! This one has been all the rage with a lot of the older kids lately, but the little ones love it too! This isn’t a good one to have children help make, but playing with it will entertain them more than enough. You need a few simple ingredients: Liquid Starch ( I’m sure a lot of kinds will work but we use this one), white glue, and some liquid food coloring. Mix equal parts liquid starch, white glue, and food coloring. Mix well, and then wait about 5 minutes. Scoop out the solid bit and dump out the rest of the liquid. Now squish away!  Different color putties can be mixed together after the are completed, but it will take a few minutes to incorporate them. For even more fun add some sparkly glitter or small beads to the finished putty.
    6. Kool Aid Slime – I always wanted to make slime, but i never wanted to have my babies playing with borax! Not safe. This great slime is made with all non-toxic, edible (though not particularly yummy) ingredients. Check out the instructions from Growing A Jeweled Rose.
    7. Kool Aid Foam – Another great idea we got from Growing A Jeweled Rose (I love this blog!) Uses Kool Aid and dish soap to make fantastic bubbly fun!
    8. Kinetic sand – This stuff is pretty darn cool. We have some store bought and we’ve tried the home made kind. Both are pretty good! I suggest making a good amount as everyone, including parents are going to want to play with this stuff! You need 1 cup of play sand, 1/2 tbs corn starch and about 3/4 a cup of warm water. You can add a small squirt of dish soap to the water, but I don’t find it to make much of a difference. I also like to add food coloring, liquid water colors and/or essential oils with the water. Simply dump in the sand and corn starch, mix it around and slowly add the water. Pour a little, mix a little, repeat until the sand is the consistency you want. That’s it! Play away! And don’t forget to save some for yourself 😉
    9. Marshmallow Playdough – This is a relatively new discovery at my house, but a huge hit. Marshmallows + Playdoh. How could you go wrong?? Place 5-7 large marshmallows (or the equivalent of smaller marshmallows. A cup maybe?), a 1/4 cup of corn starch and 2tsp of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 30-35 seconds. Remove the bowl and add 10-12 drops of food coloring to the oil or marshmallows. Use a big spoon and mix until the ingredients are well combined and form a ball. If necessary add another scoop of corn starch. Now let the kiddos at it! Be sure to use a mat or parchment paper as it does get a bit greasy from the coconut oil!
    10. Clean Mud – An oldie but goodie! This one was always a huge hit in my daycare classes. All you need is a roll or 2 of cheap toilet paper, a cheap bar of soap grated or cut into small pieces and some nice warm water. I always found it most productive to have the kiddos tear the toilet paper into a million pieces and put it in a large plastic bin, while I worked on grating the soap. Pour the soap bits in with the shredded toilet paper and add warm water 1/2 cup at a time and get everyone involved in the squishing! It will take a few minutes for the soap and tissue to dissolve but when it does every thing will come together into a mud like substance that is super fun and completely clean!  Mom win!
    11. Bonus!     Ivory Cloud – Speaking of soap… have you ever stuck Ivory Soap in your microwave? If not, you have to try it! Like today. Take a bar and put it on a microwave safe plate or bowl, and then pull up a chair! Microwave the soap on high for 1:30 or 2 minutes. It will grow to a giant cloud! Let it cool off for a minute or two and then explore! After your kids have crumbled and squished to their hearts content you can use the powder to make the Clean Mud above!!


Do you have any great SQUISHY Sensory ideas for little ones? Make sure to share in the comments, or just let me know which ones worked best at your house!


Check back next week for Top Ten Tuesday!


Momma’s Making Cheesecake!

So let’s talk cheesecake. Yes, cheesecake. Soft, creamy, delicious, so terrible for people with lactose intolerances…

…but I digress.

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Seriously though, intolerances be damned, I love me a good cheesecake. And my love is nothing compared to that of my husband. I am a fan of dessert, in general. We don’t do a lot of processed food here, so I eat pretty healthy meals, as a rule. My kryptonite comes in the form of anything baked. Cookies, cake, pie, cobbler, tarts, pastry… I could go on forever.

Nov. 14th was the anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter movie in theaters, and being the obsessed dorks that we are, my husband and I attempted to plan an in home date night to watch the movie after the children went to bed. As part of our plan, I suggested we have a delicious dessert (any excuse will do!). Hubs doesn’t share my love of all things baked, unfortunately and asked if we could have cheesecake. It is one of the few desserts he really enjoys. I balked initially. Despite being his favorite, I have never, in our more than a dozen years together, actually made a cheesecake. They have always been elusive. Needing specialized pans, water baths and more “setting” time than I am generally willing to wait, it had never been not worth a few extra dollars at the grocery store.

On this particular night, however, I was feeling particularly ambitious. I knew that, since time immortal, cheesecake had been a difficult and time intensive task. I also knew that the people of Pinterest pay no mind to such things. Where there is a will, there must be a way, and I knew I could not be the only person who wanted delicious cheesecake without the fuss. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I did some recon, debated on what ingredients I had, and what type and texture I wanted to ultimately end up with. In the end, I took a little from 3 different recipes and made them my own, as I am wont to do.

It took about 2 1/2 hours, and maybe 6 ingredients. Let me tell you, my friends, it was worth it. It may have looked slightly better if I had used a springform pan, but the lack of will not keep me from making this again. Perhaps I will make it again this weekend, when we try again to actually get in that movie…

Quick, Simple Cheesecake

  • Servings: 2-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 ½ – 2 cups of Nilla Wafers.

6tbs butter – softened

¼ cup granulated sugar


3 8oz packages cream cheese – room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs – room temperature

1tbsp vanilla extract

Swirl (optional)

1 cup fresh berries

1tbsp granulated sugar

1tsp lemon zest


  1. Set oven to 325°
  2. Put wafers into food processor and pulse until they become the consistency of sand. Add sugar and butter and pulse until the ingredients come together (about 6-8 pulses).
  3. Press mixture into an oiled 9×9 pie plate or spring form mold. Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then set aside.
  4. Reduce oven heat to 300°
  5. In a medium sized bowl, combine room temperature cream cheese blocks, sugar and flour with an electric mixer on low speed. Try not to force excess air into the mixture.
  6. Add in eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until mixture is smooth. Again, try not to force extra air into the mixture. Air pockets will rise in the oven and cause cracks.
  7. Pour the mixture into the waiting crust. See Optional Berry Swirl*
  8. Drop the whole thing onto the counter from 1-2” several times to release any air bubbles.
  9. Place on middle oven rack for 1 hour. Turn off heat and let sit for 30 minutes with the oven door closed.
  10. Remove cheesecake from oven and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. 1-2 hours preferable.

*Optional Berry Swirl:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3-4 times. Gently drop spoons of the berry mixture onto the cheesecake after you pour it into the crust. Use a butter knife or the other end of the spoon to gently swirl the berries through the entire thing. Make sure to get it below the surface, but take care not to pull up the bottom crust!




Don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know how your’s worked out!

The One That Tips the Scales

Once upon a time, many moons ago, when people would ask me how I felt about children I would always tell them I wanted 4 or 5. I knew that was a big number, but I loved kids. They were fun to play with, funny to talk to, and they took naps pretty regularly. I was a daycare teacher who spent my days in a classroom with 12-30 children under 4. How hard could 5 children of my own possibly be?

Oh to be young and naive once again!

Then I had my first daughter. We had our ups and downs, but all in all, I could totally handle it. She wore correctly matched outfits and newborn sized shoes. She got a bath every day and we had a wonderfully relaxing, hour long bed time routine. When it came time for my second daughter’s arrival, I was ready and confident. I could totally have the time and energy to devote to two children! Things were a bit chaotic, but she was an easy baby. We got into a routine, there were baths every other day, clothes that almost always matched, and if I didn’t get very much sleep, it wasn’t such a big deal.

8 months into my journey of two children, I found out there would be a third. I will admit, there was initial panic. I was concerned about things like car space and sharing bedrooms. I worried about how my family and friends would react. I knew that people would be much more judgmental about a third baby announcement. I was right. People all wanted to know what I would do with a third child. They looked at me with something akin to pity. I was confused. Wasn’t I a good parent? My two little girls were sweet, smart, and relatively well-behaved. I kept them mostly clean and adequately fed. Why would anyone be concerned about my ability to add a third to the mix? How much more chaos could one child add to our already toddler filled house?

Turns out that most of those people weren’t being judgy.. they just had 3 kids.

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You see, I have found that three is a magic number when it comes to children. It is the number that tips the scales. I know a lot of parents. I have observed, polled, and assisted them. I have come to the conclusion that, for the most part, you can separate parents into two camps: parents of 1-2 kids, and parents of 3 or more. You can generally tell them apart by their attire. Parents of 1-2 children occasionally have time for planned outfits. Parents of 3+ have a much higher chance of wearing a hoodie and yesterday’s yoga pants, or threadbare cotton PJ pants.

I am by no means knocking being a parent to 1 or 2 children! Parenting, by its very nature is hard, frustrating and tedious as often as it is rewarding and fun. I am not in the habit of putting down any parent who is doing their best to raise decent children!

What I’m saying is those of us who have chosen to push our luck and have a third child (or more) face unique challenges. For example:

  • Two children can play together. In fact, if they don’t want to be alone, it is often their only option. And if they decide they don’t want to play together, they can both choose to play separately. Three (or more) children generally form themselves into shaky alliances. If someone wants a partner in crime/ play they have a choice of playmates. This could naturally sort itself out, but more often than not it results in tears, pint-sized politics, and someone left out.
  • In the car, two children can sit apart from each other, allowing for conversation, but no physical contact. Three children take up an entire back seat. The urge to invade someone’s personal space is far too strong to resist. Also there are only two window seats, which is occasionally catastrophic.
  • When you are out running all the errands that momma’s get stuck with and your children decide they are hungry, a snack can easily be split in half. However, a third of most things is not enough to qualify as a snack.
  • Crossing the street with two children is straight forward. You have a hand to hold on to each of them. However, crossing the street with three children means you have to trust an older child to hold hands with her sister, even if she sees money, trash or a pretty rock on the ground in the middle of the intersection.
  • Little legs get tired. Whether it is on a pretty trail in the woods, the soccer field, or you’ve just walked a little too long in the mall, sometimes they are going to need a lift. Two children can usually be persuaded to take turns and keep moving, and if not, carrying one and dragging the other is a feasible (if unappealing) option. If there are three children, the time between turns becomes far too long, and your chance of two of them continuing to walk instead of teaming up to mutiny are slim to none. [Edit: For those who say strollers are the answer, you have obviously never pushed a double stroller on anything other than a smooth, straight path. And you have definitely not attempted it while trying to keep tabs on whichever child(ren) you have been forced to leave free.)
  • Most people mothers can manage to follow two conversations at once, even if they are spoken with various speech impediments and are hardly relevant. The most skilled of us can even manage to respond to both conversations with appropriately time “uh huh”s and “oh yeah?”s. However, if you add in a third string of chatter, it all just dissolves into unintelligible noise that assaults your ears and steadily grows louder as they all try to outdo the others for a response.



Then there is the issue of logistics. I know that, in reality, 3 children cannot possibly make that many more dishes, laundry and general clutter than 2 children. However, that last 1/3 of mess makes a difference in one persons ability to clean it all up. I imagine/hope that as they grow older, three little girls will be a big help in the daily chore department. However, as I wait for that cold day in hell, I am stuck with three small children who love to “help” with chores. I try to encourage any offers of assistance, and I know they are learning, but these attempts almost always require me to go back and redo them later, and more often than not result in a bigger mess than I started with. Often times three.

There are three times the chance that someone will decide to play in in the bathroom instead of the playroom. There are three times as many random breakable/multi-piece toys that people insist on giving children for their birthdays. Three times the doctor, dentist, and therapy appointments. Three times the classes and activities you are guilted into encouraging your child to participate in.  Three times the chances that you will forget something (or someone!) at any given moment.

Basically it boils down to this: If you are an octopus and can clean/taxi/referee and generally mom at warp speed 24/7, the chances are you are already doing these things with 2 kids. If you are an octopus and actually enjoy the chaos and warp speed momming, than by all means, go for the 3rd, 4th, 16th kid. Just make sure you don’t like to sit down, because frankly, its definitely the third one that tips the scales.


A Lesson in Kindness


We recently spent a few months at the beach with my sister, enjoying the summer and trying to get Momma into a more positive mindset. While we were there, amongst the hustle and bustle of Ocean City life, my daughter managed, once again, to teach me a very important lesson.

We got there in May, so the beaches were pretty empty. This meant we got all the waves, and more importantly, all of the shells to ourselves! Bug loves to collect things, and she was thrilled to find so many shells just waiting for her to scoop them up. Personally, I was excited to find so many big unbroken shells. Of course, Bug didn’t care if they were big or small, whole or broken into a tiny sliver. She collected them all. I suggested once, as our second bucket began to overflow, that we consider leaving some of the broken ones and just find the rest of the pretty ones to take with us. As soon as she glanced up at me I remembered I was reasoning with the wrong child. With a huge smile she reached down, grabbed a busted up shell with a purple smudge on it and declared “ok, you hold onto this one and I’ll find more pretty ones”. That is the beauty of Bug. To her, all things are beautiful. Rocks, shells, grass, clouds, flowers, bugs, shadows, pictures, people… she sees the beauty in all of it, without even trying. Boo, on the other hand immediately cause a ruckus by snatching her bucket and proceeding to weed out the imperfect ones, which then got rescued and crammed into Bug’s bucket, of course.

So these beautiful shells (big, small, broken and whole) all ended up in a massive plastic tub on the deck. They played with them every day, washing them in the water table, building towers and hiding them for treasure hunts. A few days after we brought the first load home, we decided to go for an afternoon walk. As we were headed out, I noticed Bug was still on the porch. When I called her down she had a small bag filled with shells. I noticed, and knowing her, decided not to comment on it. After two or three blocks we came upon an older couple walking in the other direction. As  we drew even with them, but waved and started to approach them. We have been trying to work on caution with strangers, but my amiable child is having a tough time with the concept. As I reached out to reign her in, I caught her words.

As she reached into her tiny bag, she blocked the path of the unsuspecting couple and beamed “Hello,” she started brightly, “I am taking a walk, and I brought along some of my beautiful shell collection to share with strangers today. Being kind is a great way to make a friend!” and with that, she reached out and put a small chipped seashell in this man’s hand. I stood there, torn between pride and amusement, or mild embarrassment. Luckily, the couple didn’t seem to mind. In fact, quite the opposite. They smiled right back at my sweet girl and thanked her for the wonderful gift. The man put it in his pocket, told me what a good girl I was raising, and continued on with their day. With a skip in her step, and no further comment, Bug continued on her way as well.

And just like that, my 6 year old reminded me how easy it is to spread kindness. I still don’t know if she brought her shells with the intention of sharing, or if it just struck her in the moment. Either way, she decided to share one of her treasures with a complete stranger, with the aim of making a new friend. And not even a new friend to keep, just one more person on the street who didn’t have to be a complete stranger.

Screenshot 2017-11-18 09.54.45

Being her, Bug certainly did not stop there. Since the first attempt went so well, she continued to bring a pocket full of shells every time we walked to the beach. She would see people, young and old, and randomly decide to share her treasures and a smile. Most times she was given a smile and a kind word for her offerings. There were a few people who were not feeling particularly friendly, but Bug didn’t mind. These people got a smile anyway as she went off to find someone more receptive.

While I know, as a parent in this crazy world, I should maybe try a little harder to remind my overly friendly child about dangers. I try to remind her to only talk to people when I am with her, and I constantly remind her not to share personal details with people we do not know. I can’t, however, bring myself to scare her into hiding from people instead of spreading her joy. I hope that first couple had a wonderful day, and I hope that my little one never loses the ability to spread kindness wherever she goes.

Gotta Start Somewhere…

One of my favorite quote finds since I’ve had my daughters:

Little Girl: A giggle that twirls.

That, in a nutshell, is what I deal with 75% of my day. Of course, in order to capture the essence of the other 25% of my day, I’d have to reference The Exorcist or a live MMA fight.

With so much going on, and so many fun and entertaining moments in our lives, I have often had the thought that it was a shame we couldn’t reach out and touch lives of more people. Enter the world of blogging.

If parenting has taught me one thing, it is that there is no shortage of moments to learn from, fight through, laugh at, and share. 3 Giggling Twirls is about those moments, mixed with a whole lot of real life. We play, we fight, we homeschool, some weeks we exist on coffee (me) and cheese (them) and we probably get a bit too much screen time.

These days to many people want to tell you how to get it all together, and how to have the perfect house, children, relationship and life. We are not those people. We know that a life with children is messy and full of unpredictability and chaos. We don’t necessarily try to change it as much as we try to embrace it.

If this sounds like a philosophy you can get behind, then please join us on our journey. Let’s learn from, and support, and commiserate with each other. I promis you’ll never get bored!