Sensory play consists of activities that stimulate your child's senses by engaging one or more of the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing.
With the summer holidays looming, hopefully, the weather will be kind, but if not here are some sensory play ideas for spending your time indoors with your children:
Pour 4 cups flour into the centre of a large tub. Create a crater in the middle of the flour and pour the 1/2 cup oil into the crater and mix it all together. You can add glitter, food colouring or essential oils.
Mix the 2 cups of cornflour with 1 cup of water. Add food colouring if you like. You can also make the goop dance by placing a bass speaker next to it and playing something really "bassy".
This simply involves filling various containers with dried beans, lentils or rice and allowing your child to scoop, stir and transfer them between pots etc. You could try making a beach or treasure island out of rice. The same concept can be used using zip-lock freezer bags, for example, you could try filling them with shaving foam or jelly etc.
By adding vinegar to bicarbonate of soda it makes the powder fizz and bubble. You can play with this idea by either filling mugs/pots with bicarbonate of soda and adding vinegar and food colouring to them to create a "fizzing tea party" or by filling a tray with bicarbonate of soda and putting the vinegar into a water pistol which your child can then squirt into the tray and watch the powder bubble up when the vinegar hits it.
Squirt a layer of shaving cream onto a tray and let your child spread it about with their hands. Dribble some of the paint (watered down enough to pour) onto the shaving cream. Allow your child to swirl the paint around either using the back of a paintbrush or their fingers to make a marbled effect (make sure to stop before the colours mix together too much). You can print the marbled effect onto paper by placing a sheet of paper/card onto the foam. Gentle lift the paper off the shaving foam and set aside. Then use a credit card or a cardboard square to scrape the shaving foam off the paper. The swirled/marbled pattern should remain of the paper. Set aside to dry.
Mix roughly equal amounts of PVA glue and white shaving cream together. Add little bits of food colouring or paint and stir into the mix. Your 3D paint is then ready to use. It works best to dab the paint onto the paper or card rather than smear, as you want it to be quite thick. Try finger painting with the paint. The paint will have a puffy, 3D texture when dry and will feel squishy like a foam to the touch.
Cook as much spaghetti as you wish to use then divide it up into separate containers - one container for each colour that you are making. Add a few drops of food colouring to each container and mix. Add a little cooking oil to the coloured spaghetti to stop it from becoming too sticky. Your coloured spaghetti is now ready. Allow your child to play with it!
Water is familiar to children and can provide an easy, safe and free form of sensory play. Fill a large container with water and provide your child with some simple toys such as funnels, various sized pots or containers, marbles, clothes or sponges, bubbles or foam etc and simply allow your child to experiment and play. A tray/container of water can be used to play both indoors and outdoors.
By simply mixing dried rice with food colouring you can create a brightly coloured rice grain that your child can use for sensory play. Simple mix approximately a cup of dried rice with a teaspoon of food colouring by placing both in a screw-top container and shaking until the rice is adequately covered and then setting aside to dry on paper towels. Once the rice is dried your child engage with it by passing it between containers or playing with it with their hands.
For this you will need googly eyes, paint, and glue. Make a bunch of rock characters, give them names, you could even give them personalities!