By Vicki Little
Summer is meant to be fun and relaxed, but that doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop. There are plenty of creative ways to sneak in some learning through sensory play. Here are 8 simple sensory activities to try with your children this summer.
- Let your little Picasso get super creative with paint. Supply many different textures for the “brushes, ” such as cotton balls, ice cubes, apples, a fly swatter, squeeze bottles, etc. Make finger painting more interesting by adding large glitter to the paint. Test anything to see how well you can paint with it!
- Get a little messy. Get silly making mud pies, digging for worms, throwing water bombs (soaked sponges) at the ground or the side of the house, playing in water with strainers and measuring cups, having a car wash for all their little cars. You will get wet, you may get messy, but you will have fun!
- Create unusual art. Get out the glue and sand and make a small sand sculpture, or paint on a table with shaving cream (even more fun if you add color!). Another fun activity is to fold up a napkin and dip it in different colors of food coloring. When it is opened, you will find an unique creation!
- Get squishy. Who doesn’t love squishing shaving cream through their fingers? Make some fun squishy bags with hair gel and goggly eyes. Make sculptures with kinetic sand. Create a soapy ocean by putting small shells into a plastic bag filled with light gel or body soap! Let your children get creative and find what works by using trial-and-error on things they think would be fun to squish!
- Make different sensory buckets. Line up paper or plastic bowls and fill them with dry elbow macaroni, cold cooked spaghetti noodles, ice cubes, corn kernels — anything! With older kids, you can play a game to see if they can guess what they are touching.
- Go on a scavenger hunt. Get a cute treasure box from the Dollar Store or craft store and go on a scavenger hunt for things to fill it with! Try to find as many different textured things as you can fit, a small feather, a bumpy pebble, a strip of crumpled paper, a crunchy leaf, a smooth blade of grass, a poky needle from a pine tree — whatever catches their eye!
- Do some excavating. Hopefully you have a large freezer because the bigger, the better for this. Freeze some toys in a bucket or container of water. Try to find some that float and some that sink. (Or you can just freeze the water in layers so the toys are at different levels.) Then let your kiddos hammer away at the ice with their plastic tools to get to their toys. Or you can even freeze some fruit in the water so they can eat what they excavate!
- Think outside the box. Instead of playing in a regular sandbox or pool, why not have some fun and splash around in a bubble bath pool, or dig around for buried treasures in a pool filled with rice? Add some fun items to their regular pool, such as medicine droppers, so they can squirt water. You also can add plastic animals to swim with them or sponges that they can use to squish water with.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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