Wet, squishy, colorful sensory activities increase your child’s tactile awareness/processing — and are endlessly entertaining, with all that mixing, swirling and squishing. And playing with water develops motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as builds understanding of ‘how things work’ (how water flows, finds a level, allows some items to float while others sink, etc.) through experimenting. Plus, it’s all fun! Here are a few ideas for activities to get you started.
Bubble foam is so easy to whip up — literally; you use a hand mixer. You already have all the ingredients at home and it only takes a few minutes.
– Dishwashing detergent, bubble bath or body wash (tear free)
– Food coloring (optional)
– Use two parts dishwashing detergent, bubble bath or body wash (tear free) to one part water
– Add food coloring if you like
– Mix with a hand mixer on the highest setting until the foam can form stiff peaks
– Dump the foam into a plastic bin
– Repeat with more colors until you have the desired amount
– Add small toys, such as little trucks, or baking utensils — different options keep it interesting — and stand back!
Check out this post
for specifics and links to fun variations.
Whether you do this at bath time or as a separate activity, bathtub finger painting is irresistibly fun. Plus, the mess is contained to your tub, or at least to your bathroom. Win-win!
You can buy pre-made bathtub finger paint soap (made by Crayola and sold on Amazon, Walmart, etc.) or you can make your own using one of these recipes:
(These are really just proportions; you will probably want to make more)
– 1⁄3 cup mild clear dishwashing soap OR baby soap such as Johnson and Johnson baby wash
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch (you can add more or less, depending on the consistency you like)
– food coloring or watercolor or tempura paint, in different colors
– Mix cornstarch and liquid soap in bowl
– Pour into muffin tin, equally divided between the sections
– Add drops of different colors of food coloring or paint to each section
– Mix until blended
– Give your child one or more paintbrushes and enjoy the changing artscape
– 1 cup of dish soap or tear-free baby shampoo
– 1/2 cup of cornstarch
– 1/2 cup of cold water
– Food coloring or tempera paint
– In a sauce pan, mix the cornstarch into the cold water until it is dissolved — it should still be a bit pasty, but not clumpy. Then turn up the heat and bring the cornstarch water to a boil – stir constantly to make sure there are no chunks.
– Add the soap and mix, heating on medium temperature until just boiling. The soap should have a gel-like consistency as it cools.
– Add food coloring, tempera paint, or anything water-based.
– Test the paint on a patch of your tub to ensure that your food coloring does not stain.
– Store your paint in an airtight container. (The paint will separate slightly when stored; stir well before use.)
The squish makes it extra amusing!
– Shaving cream
– Food coloring or tempera or watercolor paint
– Squirt a few dollops of shaving cream into each compartment of a muffin tin
– Mix a few drops of a different color food coloring or paint into each compartment
– Hand your child a paintbrush — or a few brushes in different sizes — and let the fun begin
Go through the toy bins to find plastic toys and figures that your child can paint with washable paint — she can keep rinsing and re-painting them as much as she wants. She can play directly in the sink, or you can cover an area of the floor with a splat mat or drop cloth to make clean up easy.
Cleaning up is fun too — let him give the toys a final bath in the sink or a plastic tub (perhaps with some bubble bath involved?). Tip: It’s a good idea to cover the floor with an old towel first to guard against overly enthusiastic cleaning.
Your child can play at the sink, in the tub, or in a basin on the floor (you can cover the floor with a splat mat, drop cloth, or even a trash bag cut in half and spread out, with a towel over it).
– Different size cups
– Different size household containers and lids
– Eye droppers (or cleaned medicine dispensers)
– Squeeze bottles (you can rinse and re-use glue and condiment bottles)
– Spray bottles (plant misters, rinsed household cleaner bottles)
– Water guns
– Squirt toys
– Small toys
– Strainer spoons and nets to scoop toys
– Utensils to mix and stir water in containers
– Sturdy plastic bags
– Ice cubes
– A dollar store chalkboard to ‘paint’ on with water
– Objects of different densities for ‘float or sink’ experiments
– Homemade sailboats — see details at https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/sailing-away/
– If desired, add a few drops of soap to make suds
In the next post, we will discuss an activity to do with your child that addresses a lot of sensory areas at once.
Does your child enjoy hands-on sensory experiences like finger painting, bubble foam, etc. or is s/he more of a paintbrush type? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, let me know there or via email what topics you would like to discuss or hear more about.
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I look forward to hearing from you!
All the best,