If you have a toddler who puts EVERYTHING in their mouth, this is the post for you. I am just thrilled to have Cerys from Rainy Day Mum posting today. Rainy Day Mum is one of my “go to” blogs when I need ideas for things to do with toddlers (I think you’ll see why!)
I love the idea of sensory play – always have and I have seen some amazing posts around the Internet of shaving foam, glow in the dark bath paints etc… but I have a serious problem – well I don’t my 16 month old T does – she eats everything and anything, shaving foam included (yes we found that out when I tried sensory play for the first time in the winter and given half the chance will still do so) so I’ve had to be very adaptive especially as I also have a almost 3 year old who wants to join in with everything as well.
Instead of the standard sensory play which could be toxic and finger painting that a lot of toddlers can do by the time they get to 16 months we’ve had to be creative with our play.
Non-toxic Cloud Dough for young toddlers
First alternative we tried was Cloud Dough – the standard cloud dough is made with baby oil – which wasn’t something that I wanted T to ingest so instead of baby oil I added vegetable oil and then to make it smell nicer into the vegetable oil I added some vanilla escence – vanilla (and a slight hint of vegetable oil) non-toxic cloud dough.
Edible Finger Painting
Finger painting is a lot of fun especially the texture and colours but with store bought finger paints they all say not before 3 and although they also say non-toxic I really don’t want to risk it so homemade edible finger paints is great – made with corn starch and water it’s jello like consitency is amazing to touch and can be coloured with food coloring to make it a visual sensory experience as well.
We’ve been bringing stories alive – Goldilocks and the three bears and Commotion in the Ocean and created story bins for them. With the Goldilocks story bin – rolled oats made an excellent base and fitted brilliantly in with the story and when we had finished playing with bears and dolls in the bin I added some water and the experience of playing with rolled oats as it goes from solid state to full blown porridge is great for young toddlers to experience. With the Commotion in the Ocean homemade playdough was used to create rocks, oats as pebbles on the beach and blue jello mixed with water as the ocean.
Alternative to Shaving Foam
The experience of shaving foam is wonderful it forms peaks, you can use it to mix colours with and it’s a “clean” messy play as it leaves everything cleaner once you have cleaned up – however T will gobble it up so this is a no go for us. Instant pudding mix is a perfect alternative, it forms peaks and you can add different substances to make it an interesting sensory experience, how about some ice cubes to help cool down in this summer heat.
Homemade edible puffy paint
Puffy paint is wonderful, you can buy it but yet again it’s not suitable for under 3′s and the mix of substances is not good – for older children you can make up your own with shaving foam and white glue, but this won’t be good for the young toddlers – instead a mix of flour, water and baking soda creates the same effect and is wonderful to play with as well. Once you have it painted (in the case of older children) you can then microwave it and it will puff up.
Tips for keeping sensory play contained and clean up
- Always set up sensory play like those above in areas where it is easy to vacum, mop or wash down – the kitchen, bathroom or garden are perfect as they can cleaned easily
- Use a messy mat – or vinyl table cloth underneath the tray or bin that way the majority of the mess will be contained within this area
- Strip down to nappies or underpants for toddlers and older children – cloud dough is very difficult to get out of clothes once it becomes embedded as is homemade puffy paint.
- Using the kitchen, bathroom or garden is perfect as clean up can be done quickly afterwards – a kitchen sink will fit a young toddler in to be washed down – the shower and bath is perfect and there is no better way to clean up in the garden than with a paddling pool or hose fight which even the youngest toddlers love
Sharing indoor and outdoor activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers ranging from art to zoo field trips she aims to make every day fun what ever the weather outside.