Ideas for sensory and messy play at home

This week I decided it was time to introduce Austin to sensory play. He’s been to a sensory class before which was fantastic and I’m sure we’ll sign up for the term soon, but I wanted to wait until Austin was stable enough sitting up or crawling before I did so that he could really get involved.

For now though there’s plenty we can do at home – we’ve made a sensory basket! I’ve had so much fun filling it with all kinds of items. Now Austin has started sitting up he loves to explore and I’ve noticed lately how much more he’s able to actually play with things. It’s lovely to watch!

Processed with VSCOcamThe first items I added were things I found around the house – empty kitchen roll, wooden spoon, wooden spatula, flashing ball, thick ribbon leftover from Christmas, a pom pom made from shiny foil (a Christmas present from Austin’s friend Betty), small balls with moving objects inside, a small cloth drawstring bag for him to put things in and out of, a rainmaker and a few other bits.

We visited our friend Annie last week (Betty’s mummy) and she had some fab bits in their basket which gave me some great ideas. I went online and ordered a few more bits which arrived within a couple of days. A foil emergency blanket was the best thing – I found one on Amazon and only cost only a few pence!

imagesI also found some other things on that website such as egg maracas, silicone spatulas – which I’m very glad I got as Austin sucks on everything and have found the wooden utensils have frayed and was worried about him getting a splinter in his mouth so they have since been removed in favour of silicone utensils.

Processed with VSCOcamThe other thing Annie and Betty had were scraps of material which is another great thing to add in. Annie told me about a haberdashery shop in town, so off I went. In this shop I was able to fill a small carrier bag with as many scraps as I could manage and it only cost £1.50 for the lot. Bargainous! They were quite frayed at the edges so I spent this evening sewing a hem so that he can chew on them as much as he likes. We picked some silk, net, velvet, old curtain scraps, oil cloth and lots more. I think they’re going to be a hit!

Processed with VSCOcamThat’s it so far for the basket but there are so many more sensory things to do at home and I can’t wait to try! Here are some of them if you fancy giving it a go

  • Custard, ice cream, yoghurt, beans, jelly or spaghetti (in sauce or without) on the high chair tray, in a washing up bowl or in the bath
  • Cornflour – this was my favourite activity when I was a nanny. If you mix cornflour with a little water and leave it for a minute it looks like it goes hard, but when you put your hands in it to pick it up, it immediately turns to liquid! Brilliant for teaching textures
  • Fill an old plastic bottle with glitter and water – make sure to screw the lid on VERY tight
  • Fill an old bottle with rice to make a shaker
  • Raw pasta, lentils and dry beans – be VERY careful to watch for these being put in the mouth

I am going to wait until Austin is slightly more stable sitting up to try those and when he is I can’t wait to give him a washing up bowl full of custard or cornflour – so much fun! Summer is always great for these activities too – being outside means they can flick it wherever they like and no one cares about the mess!

Have you tried sensory play with your little one’s?

Thanks for reading!

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