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.
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Top 10 Tuesday
- 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!
- 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!
- Water Beads! – If you have little kids and you haven’t found these, you are missing 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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 😉
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!