I have blogged in the past about DIY Sensory play which mainly focussed on babies and sensory play. As my two are now both toddlers (boo hoo) the type of play needs to be more stimulating and interactive. Admittedly, I get a lot of ideas from Pinterest so think of this blog as almost a review of the most interesting and/or simple sensory ideas I could find.
Gel Balls and Fairy Lights
You know the ones…at weddings or florists the little jelly balls used to keep flowers fresh. Well you can buy these really cheaply on Amazon or eBay. Pop them in a bowl or tupperware and fill with water and leave over night to soak up.
If you place them in a transparent bowl or container you can sit them on top of some tiny battery operated fairy lights to make them glow. You can hide objects within them or just let them loose on the balls.
They are non-toxic so don’t worry if they give them a little taste but obviously don’t let them dine out on them.
My two really enjoyed the texture and running their fingers through the balls. They also really enjoyed grabbing them and putting into cups, then pouring them back (beware though, these buggers bounce)!
The mood turned quickly though, and what started out as a relaxing sensory game soon became something far more energetic as it began raining gel balls, then the rug was a sea of the little watery spheres. If you don’t mind rubbery gel being trodden into your carpet then its great fun. Otherwise, I would advise saving for sitting in the bath or putting a waterproof mat down in preparation for the carnage.
Paint in Zip Bags
Really simple idea. Squirt different coloured paints (I used opposite colours for a bold impact like purple and yellow) into a sandwich bag (double lock is best) and let the rug-rats squash it, poke it and play with it until they are worn out.
I love this idea as its a ‘mess-free’ one (unless your cat decided to claw the bag in the night only for the toddlers to squish the paint out of the sides). But if you don’t have a four-legged friend then its a winner. The kids feel as though they are having messy play but it remains all in tact in the neat little bags.
For a stained glass effect, stick them up against the window with some tape. When the sun is shining it makes some lovely vibrant colours and shapes on the window.
Gel and Glitter Zip Bags
Similar to the paint idea, but different contents. By adding in a transparent liquid like hand sanitiser or hair gel, means you can add other objects in too to make it more interesting. I added little foam shapes and green glitter.
Lil Man enjoyed squeezing it and looking at the shapes but soon got bored. Whereas, Baby enjoyed throwing it about and trying to pull it apart. Probably a little too fragile for this sort of play.
To be honest, I think I enjoyed it more than them, like a sort of pretty stress ball. But I suppose it depends on the temperament of the child playing with it.
Fabric in a Shoe Box
I saw a clip on YouTube where a woman put a number of small number of swatches into a wire ball for her toddler/baby to pull out one by one. She seemed to rate it so I made a variation on this and just cut a a few slits in the top of a shoe box (much like a tissue box as my youngest enjoys pulling every tissue out one by one) and filled with material.
With Lil Man, I hid a few little items within the fabric and said we were on a treasure hunt. He seemed to really enjoy this. For Baby, I just let her pull the fabric out of the slit and then put them all back again. This kept her entertained for at least half an hour.
I think these are all so simple and cheap, its worth trying them all because what one child finds fun or interesting, another may simply walk away from. It was certainly fun making them all, not so fun hoovering up crushed gel balls out of the rug though.