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Sensory Play with Little Hands
Jul 17, 2012

I'm a big fan of sensory play. I big fan. Sensory play is basically just a way for your children to play that uses as many of a child's five senses as possible to learn. It takes some searching for new ideas and a lot of intentionality, but it's worth it.

We're in the middle of the midsummer time blues. Do you have those at your house? You start out the summer strong with lots of fun and play, but somewhere along the way, it gets hot and boring. I never realized how important holidays are to young children to keep things changing, until summer and the lack of holidays. There's Independence Day, but when they're really little, it's hard to make that a big deal. Trust me, my history minor will come out strong every July when they're older.

However, in this arts and crafts loving house, the back to school supplies going on sale is very much like a holiday! In comes the sensory play. We went to Walmart yesterday and stocked up on the art supplies that have slowly dwindled down over the last several months. We keep a low cabinet in the kitchen full of washable paint, safety scissors, pipe cleaners, tape, and anything else that the girls could use to create. Today, London wanted to use our new Elmer's glue, and I wanted to include as many senses as possible.

We've all made a picture on paper out of glue to sprinkle on glitter and shake off, but I wanted it to be a little different. I have a large number of cheap cooking spices that I use for stovetop potpourri, so I took out four of them and sprinkled a little of each on saucers. I drew some flowers on paper for them, and let them sprinkle the spices on to the glue. It was neat to watch them smell and taste each to decide which one they liked the most. They weren't fans of the taste of any, of course, but cinnamon and Italian seasoning were their favorite smells, which I was surprised on that last one. The other two I used were nutmeg and ginger. Next I wrote their names on new pieces of paper and let them mix all the spices together to sprinkle on. It was really fun and easy clean up. After they were done and on their way to play, I just shook all the leftover spices into a small pot to add vanilla and water and make some potpourri on the stove. Easy peasy. My 22 month old actually understood much better than I expected, and she was really good at this activity!

One tip: keep baby wipes close at hand. If they rub their eyes, those spices don't feel so great in the eye. But even when my 3 year old got it in her eyes, I wiped her eyes with a wipe and she was happy again!

Until next time,
Heather

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