Tag Archives: sensory play

Pouring Water Sensory Play

This week’s Water Wednesday was the rainiest day of the summer. It poured all day! Fortunately, I had planned a water activity that worked inside or outside. I originally got the idea of a water pouring station from Busy Toddler’s blog. Buddy loves to pour water, and his favorite bath toy is a cup for dumping water. I knew Buddy would love a pouring water activity.

First, I pulled out our sensory bin and a bunch of different cups. I also grabbed a funnel and an empty water bottle. Our two pitchers were both from the dollar store. The blue one was the water bottle that we used for the Bubbling Colors activity without the top. The other one I think was supposed to be for salad dressing. Both were perfect for toddler hands to lift and pour.

Buddy was so excited when I told him we were going to practice pouring water. He couldn’t wait to start!

He quickly poured out both pitchers into cups. I had hoped that he would pour the cups into other cups but he preferred to pour the cups into the open bin. He also poured into the funnel into the open bin. (Silly me thought he’d use the funnel to go into the water bottle or another cup!)Buddy had a lot of fun pouring water from the pitchers into other cups. He didn’t stop when a cup was overflowing, he just kept pouring all the water. When he wanted more water, I’d refill the pitchers. After awhile, the water on the bottom started to get a little deep, so I poured it out. (I didn’t want the bin to get too heavy for me to pick up and pour out.)

This was such a simple activity, but it was a lot of fun for Buddy. And it was a great real life skill that he got to practice too. I’d like to build up to Buddy using a small pitcher to pour a drink for himself. (A lot more work than just me getting it for him, but I know he’d love it.) I know we’ll be using the pitchers again this summer to practice pouring.

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Mighty, Mighty Construction Site Sensory Bin

Buddy is really into construction vehicles right now, so I decided to do another construction sensory bin for this week’s Time To Read Tuesday. (Read about our other construction site sensory bin with shredded paper here.) I checked out the book Mighty, Mighty Construction Site (affiliate link) from our library to go with our sensory bin. Buddy loves Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (affiliate link), so we were both excited to read the sequel.

I started by reading the book with Buddy. He loved all of the trucks from the other book and all of the new ones too. I loved the themes of friendship and teamwork. It’s a great book and definitely worth checking out or buying.

Then, I pulled out our sensory bin, poured in black beans, and added four mini CAT construction vehicles. I bought mine at the dollar store, but you can also get them here. They are really nice for the price, and all of the parts move the same way they do on the actual construction vehicles. Buddy was with me when we bought them a few months ago, but he hasn’t seen them since then. These new toys made the sensory bin extra exciting. 

I knew we had a bulldozer and a dump truck, but I wasn’t sure what the other two vehicles are. Fortunately, both were new friends added to Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. After looking at the pictures, we decided our other trucks were a backhoe and a front-end loader.

In the book, the front-end loader helps fill up the dump truck. We spent a lot of time doing that as well. Then Buddy tried using the backhoe and the bulldozer to fill up the dump truck. He had the best time filling up the dump truck, driving it around the bin, and dumping it back out. Buddy also loved grabbing handfuls of beans and dropping them.

This was one of my most successful activities in a long time. Buddy played with the trucks for over an hour! When we had to stop for dinner, he was hysterical about me putting it away. We compromised by picking up the beans and leaving them in the bin with the trucks. (Normally I keep my sensory bin fillers in an extra large ziplock bag in a cabinet.) We’ve played with it twice in the last week. It’s a mess, but Buddy loves it so much, it’s worth it. I know we’ll continue to play with our Mighty, Mighty Construction Site sensory bin often.

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Gardening Sensory Bin

Buddy loves sensory bins, so it’s always fun when I come across a new sensory bin idea. I first saw the idea of making a gardening sensory bin on Frugal Mom Eh’s blog. Now that it’s spring, it is the perfect time to try it.

Buddy and I bought the gardening materials from the dollar store. I had him pick out some flowers he liked, and I bought some small plastic pots as well. We also bought a jumprope with carrot handles. I cut off the rope so we could use the carrots in the bin. We bought five bags of black beans at the grocery store, and the rest of the tools we already had at home.

Before we played in the gardening sensory bin, I cut down the stems of the plastic flowers with wire cutters so they would fit in the pots. I wrapped the ends with electrical tape to cover up the exposed wire. I also found some toy gardening tools that we’ve used with some of our other sensory bins.

The bin was set up with the flowers and some black beans in the pots and the carrots buried in the “dirt”. Buddy was very eager to play in the bin, and he immediately started taking out all of the flowers.  I hoped that picking out the flowers with Buddy would increase his interest in them, but it didn’t.

Buddy’s favorite part of the bin was the plastic pots. He loved scooping up the beans and putting them into the pots. Then he’d pour the beans out of the bin, and start over again. Buddy also loved banging the pots together and stacking them in one another.

I loved the black beans as a sensory bin filler. In fact, it is my favorite filler that we’ve tried. Buddy loves it as much as rice because it’s easy to rake, scoop, and pour. I prefer it to rice, though, because it’s much bigger and easier to pick up. Buddy also helped me pick up the spilled beans to put back in the bin (something he can’t do when we play with rice).

Overall, Buddy and I both were really happy with this sensory bin. It entertained him for a long time, and was faster to clean up than some of our other sensory activities. I’m sure we’ll do it again soon.

Construction Site Sensory Bin

I first saw the idea of doing a sensory bin with construction trucks and shredded paper on Busy Toddler’s blog. I immediately loved the idea because it’s easy to set up and includes Buddy’s love of vehicles! We haven’t done a sensory bin with shredded paper since our Open the Barn Door activity in August. Back then, Buddy wasn’t interested in the paper at all. I was curious to see how his reaction would be different now.

To set up the activity, I put some paper from our shredder in a large bin and put it on the floor of the kitchen. Then, I placed some construction trucks in the paper. These were purchased at the dollar section of Target years ago, and are used more as a decoration in Buddy’s room as a toy. As a result, Buddy was especially interested in playing with these “new toys”.

Buddy first started driving the trucks around in the paper. I showed him how to use the digger to push paper around, and he tried to do it too. Then, Buddy discovered how to fill and dump the paper in the back of the dump truck. This was a lot of fun for him.

Buddy was just as interested in driving the trucks around on the kitchen floor as he was in the paper. The cars made a noise on the floor, which Buddy thought was very entertaining.

The last time we did a shredded paper sensory bin, Buddy wasn’t very interested in the paper. That wasn’t the case this time! Buddy thought the paper was a lot of fun! Once he tired of playing with the trucks, Buddy decided to play with the paper. I was expecting things to get messy, and boy, was I right!

Buddy threw paper everywhere and made a huge mess! Then, in typical toddler style, he decided to run around the house and leave a trail of paper in his wake. Once Buddy was “all done”, I threw him in his crib and swept the floor. It didn’t take too long to pick up the mess once Buddy was contained. Even though it was a messy activity, it was worth it to see Buddy have so much fun.

I’d love to try some new sensory bins this spring. If you have any great ideas for sensory bins, please let me know!

Kinetic Sand Play

When we were in Florida for Christmas, we took Buddy to the beach. He had the best time playing in the sand. We would fill a bucket together, make a sand castle, and then knock it down. Buddy loved this activity!

Now that we’re back in the Great White North, I’ve been looking for ideas for fun indoor activities. I came across this recipe for DIY Kinetic Sand from Baby First Blog and immediately thought of our Florida beach fun. We had an open bag of play sand in our garage, so I had everything I needed on hand. Kinetic sand has the properties of wet sand, which means it is easy to mold. I was hoping that it would be less messy (it wasn’t) and more fun (it was!) than regular sand.

I doubled the recipe and used two cups of sand. The next time we do this, I will probably prepare at least another two cups for play. The recipe said to let dry for a couple hours, but I let mine out over night. It was a little dry, so I added a little more water before we started playing.

I set out the kinetic sand and a few tools in a pan for Buddy. He was so excited when he saw the it!

We recreated the same play activities that we did on the beach in Florida. I had a small pot from his water/sand table (affiliate link) that we filled with sand. Just like on the beach, we filled, dumped, and knocked down our towers over and over. Every time we made a new sand tower, Buddy was in awe!

And then he immediately wanted to knock it down!

Buddy did a great job of keeping most of the sand in the pan. He actually was much neater with this activity that he is when we do our rice sensory bin. The kinetic sand kept Buddy entertained for over a half hour! It was a bit messy, but Buddy had so much fun, it was worth it.

I’m hoping to do some more sensory bins this winter. If you have any good ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Open the Barn Door Animal Activity

Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you choose to purchase something using these links, I will receive a small commission. 

Even though my themed summer days are over, I still want to do some Time to Read Tuesday activities. Right now, Buddy is really into lift the flap books, so I chose Open the Barn Door to read. Buddy loves the flaps and the animals in this book! We read it together before I showed him the animal activity.

I put together a farm play area with some farm animal toys, the bucket from our Fisher Price Baby’s First Blocks, and some “hay” made of shredded paper. Buddy loves his farm animal toys and putting things in different containers, so I knew he’d enjoy this activity. I wasn’t sure how he’d react to the shredded paper, but I thought it would be a fun sensory activity for him.

Buddy was excited when he first saw the farm scene, but he wasn’t sure about the shredded paper. He started by just pulling out all of the animals out of the paper. He didn’t want to touch the paper at all! As he pulled out the animals, we talked about the animal’s name and found it in the book.

Animal activity first

Wow! Look at all these animals!

Checking out the cow in the book.

Checking out the cow in the book.

After I pulled out the red bucket from the paper, Buddy immediately started filling it up with animals. His favorite thing to do with these animals is to put them in their tube and spill them out again, so I figured he’d be interested in doing that with a different container. He spent a lot of time filling up the bucket with the animals and pouring it on himself.

Animals in bucket

I was amazed that Buddy wasn’t interested in the paper at all. We did our activity in the kitchen because I expected a huge mess. In fact, if I hadn’t interfered at all, Buddy would have just played with the animals and ignored the paper. But I wanted Buddy to explore in the paper, so I took his animals and buried them in the “hay”. He initially was nervous about digging in the paper to get them, but eventually he started having fun with the paper too.

Having fun with shredded paper

Playing with paper

Paper everywhere

In the end, it did make a mess, but it was easy to sweep up. Buddy had a lot of fun with his animals and a new sensory material. If you have any other ideas for sensory bins, please share in the comments. I hope to do another one soon.

Easter Egg Musical Shakers

The first week of school is finally over, and things are starting to settle down. Thankfully, that means I’ll have a little more time for fun, new activities with Buddy and blogging about them.

I first made these Easter egg shakers last Easter. He loves anything that makes sounds, so I filled his eggs with different materials. (I knew if he found eggs and they didn’t make sound, he wouldn’t be interested in them.) I filled the eggs with different materials. Some had a couple bells, some had pony beads, and some had rice. Buddy loved them and were a highlight of our Easter celebration.  At the time, I sealed them with Gorilla Glue, but Buddy broke into all of them. Since the fillings are a choking hazard, I had to put them away until they could be fixed.

Easter

Buddy last Easter. He’s so little here!

Last weekend, I finally got around to fixing the Easter Egg Shakers. I used superglue to seal three of the eggs. The other two eggs were left empty, so Buddy can take them apart and put them together. I put all of the eggs in an old egg carton because I know how much Buddy loves putting things in containers.

Buddy was so excited to see the eggs, and he immediately started shaking them. He loves the different sounds they make! He was a little disappointed with the empty eggs, but it was fun for him to figure out which ones were musical.

Egg shakers

Buddy really enjoyed putting the eggs in the egg carton and taking them out again. He also liked opening and closing the carton. The egg carton definitely enhanced his playtime with the eggs.

Egg sorting

After a little while, Buddy  decided to start pouring them over his head like he did with the balls in the muffin tin. (Is it just my kid that thinks this is fun?)

Pouring eggs on head

Buddy and I had a lot of fun with the eggs, and the egg carton made them easy to store until our next playtime. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fill the last few eggs with different sounds soon.

A Week of One Year Old Activities

This week, we’ve had house guests for the holiday, so we’ve been busy cleaning and entertaining. Buddy and I didn’t have our normal schedule this week, but we were still able to have lots of fun.

Most of the things we did this week were too small for me to do a whole blog post on that activity.  However, we did do a lot of fun things.  I thought a list of quick and easy  activities might be useful for other parents. I know I’m constantly looking for ideas for keeping Buddy entertained.

This week we have:

  • Played in our water tableWater table play
  • Watched fireworks
  • Played with glow in the dark bracelets
  • Swung on swingsSwings
  • Played with homemade playdough
  • Colored with crayons
  • Made pictures with stickers
  • Tried to put lids on containersPutting on lid
  • Crawled in the grass
  • Blown and popped bubbles
  • Put pom poms in an ice cube trayIce cube tray and poms
  • Rediscovered forgotten toys
  • Tossed a beach ball with a friend
  • Crawled in a tunneltunnel play
  • Went on walks around the neighborhood
  • Pushed around in the laundry basket
  • Played in a rice sensory binRice bin
  • Decorated a window with gel clings
  • Built towers and knocked them over
  • Put pom poms in a paper towel tubePom Pom Tube
  • Crawled on and helped to deflate an air mattress
  • Made and ate pudding
  • Played with a stack of lidsLids in high chair
  • Read books
  • “Helped” with laundry (put dirty towels in laundry basket and pulled out clean socks into a pile for matching)
  • Played with friends

This week, we have gone to:

  • Story time at Barnes and Noble
  • The grocery store and rode on the horse
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Two different parks
  • The library

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy preparing for our upcoming trip to Utah and California. I hope to finish and blog about those projects soon!

Now that we’ve reached the weekend, I’m ready to find new activities to do with Buddy. If you have any fun and easy ideas for young kids, I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

Cornstarch and Water Sensory Play

This week, I wanted to try a new sensory activity for Try Something New Thursday. I first saw the idea of playing with cornstarch and water at Fun at Home with Kids. I knew this activity would be messy, but I was willing to deal with the mess to have a little fun.

I mixed some cornstarch and water in a glass pan. I didn’t measure what I put in. I started with a little water, and I kept adding until it was just slightly runny. It was a great slimy texture that was somewhat solid and somewhat liquid.

I started by giving Buddy the pan while he was still in his highchair. It was less messy in this setup, but it was hard for Buddy to actually play while strapped into the seat. I decided to embrace the mess, so I grabbed a towel and moved the activity to the kitchen floor.

cornstarch and water

Buddy was a little timid at first, but he was definitely interested in feeling the mixture. It didn’t take long before he was digging in with both hands.

cornstarch and water 3cornstarch and water 2

It was a huge mess, but it was worth it. Buddy had a great time playing with the cornstarch mixture. He loved spattering it around the towel. Eventually he pulled the pan and set it in his lap, so he could get easier access to the good stuff.

cornstarch and water 4

Originally, I thought about doing this activity in the bathtub. I decided against it because I knew I needed to clean my kitchen floor and do a load of laundry today anyway. However, I might do it in a tub next time, because Buddy definitely needed a bath after our play time was done. We both had a good time, though, so the mess was worth it.

Edible Finger Paint

This week for Make it Monday, I made edible finger paint for Buddy. Since I haven’t done finger painting with Buddy before, I wanted an edible recipe in case Buddy wanted to taste it.  I found this recipe from Meri Cherry that used only yogurt and food coloring.  For each color, I used a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt and two drops of food coloring. (For the purple, I did one drop of blue and one drop of red.)

I put the paint in a muffin tin to make it easy for Buddy to reach all of the different colors. I also used painters tape to tape down a piece of paper, so the paper would stay in one place.

Edible Finger Paint 6

Buddy put his fingers into the paint right away. He was very interested in the paint, but he wasn’t as interested in putting it on the paper. After I showed him how to put the paint on the paper, he starting putting paint on the paper too.

Edible Finger Paint 2

Trying to figure out how to finger paint.

Edible Finger paint 3

Having lots of fun.

Buddy had a great time playing with the paint, especially in the tin. Once he realized he could make a noise by banging the muffin tin against the counter, he had a great time doing that as well.

I can make a lot of noise with this tin!

I can make a lot of noise with this tin!

Ooh - paint is so squishy!

Ooh – paint is so squishy!

This turned out as a great sensory activity. Buddy enjoyed seeing the colors, feeling the cool paint, and hearing the noise of the clanging tin. He didn’t taste the paint, but it would have been fine if he tried it. Even though the actual painting was a mess, I still think it was a great activity.