Let’s Share ~ Sensory/Craft Ideas.
We love Sensory/Messy Play in our household, I’ve created a Link-up where other bloggers can share their photos of Sensory/Messy play and/or Craft ideas, along with a description and any list of resources/ingredients/equipment used.
I have learnt that to share ideas is a fab thing. I’d also love to hear posts about any classes or groups that you have attended with your children, such as messy play groups, etc.
If you are not a blogger, I’d still love to hear from you as you can always send me an email at:
We made it!!! I can’t believe the end of the summer holidays is here! We have managed a lot of sensory and craft activities and it’s kept Lou going, along with some play dates, trips out, parties and weekly sessions at the SMILE therapy centre in Malvern. As with any plans, we didn’t achieve everything and had to alter things here and there depending on the weather and availability of materials. But I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.
1. Family time.
On bank holiday Monday we had a family barbecue and Lou received a watch ready for starting school. Lou has been fascinated with time for a while now and she’s picking it up really well. It helps her to understand things like “when the hand gets to the 6 it’s time to…”
The girls also received a play kitchen as a gift. Playing ‘shops’ has been a favourite for a while now, this kept them occupied for hours!
2. Last play therapy session of these holidays.
On Tuesday Lou had her weekly session at the SMILE Centre in Malvern. We were lucky that it was a beautiful day and we were able to visit the park opposite the centre. The girls were so happy to see that there were baby ducklings! We absolutely love Malvern, it’s one of my all time favourite places, I hope to take the girls up the Malvern Hills when they are a bit older.
This week’s SMILE session was for Lou to make her own scones. I was amazed that the recipe that the staff had found used lemonade and double cream with self-raising flour to create the scones, which I’d never heard of before! Lou was able to feel the textures of all the ingredients and absolutely loved mixing it all together with her hands, the mixture foamed up once the lemonade was added! Lou got the chance to try Lemonade for the first time but she wasn’t keen as she said: “the bubbles are getting in my face!”
The scones were baked and we got to taste them and took loads home! It’s amazing how we couldn’t tell the difference with using these ingredients to the usual way we’ve made scones with butter!
Wow what a busy week! We were hardly at home this week which meant that we hardly touched on any planned activities for craft and sensory play, but we were so lucky with the weather that time was spent at parks, friends’ houses and trips out.
1. Cous Cous sensory play.
I am always looking for more materials for sensory play, we’ve never tried Cous Cous before but Lou loved exploring this, “it’s like sand mummy” She observed. And then also explored what happened when adding a bit of water: “Now it’s slimy!”
2. Good old cut and stick.
Lou has always taken a great interest in catalogues! I remember when I was younger, myself and my younger sister would cut up old catalogues and stick the items we like onto paper, Lou really enjoyed this and has been waiting to get her hands on the scissors for a while now!
3. Our day out at ‘All Things Wild,’ Honeybourne, Worcestershire.
We love this place! We’ve visited ‘All Things Wild’ a few times since Lou was 2, there’s a bit of everything. We found that there are some new additions to the park such as a large climbing frame with a twisty slide that Lou just loved. Moo really enjoyed watching the Guinea Pigs, Prairie Dogs and rabbits, they were on her level and had domes to put your head in right up close to the animals. Another favourite were the Meerkats and Porcupines. We travelled on the Dinosaur train this time and enjoyed walking around the Dinosaur structures even though it was raining! There were new Digger pits and a sandpit where the children had to uncover Dinosaur bones.
We were lucky with the weather in the afternoon but Lou and Moo enjoyed the many indoor activities on offer, which is great if the weather is bad. Such as soft play, play tractors, and reptile house. There is also a great indoor sand pit room but we didn’t manage get in there this time as we were so busy!
We hope to visit again in October half term.
I cannot believe that were in our last week of the holidays! There’s going to be a bit of preparation this week for Lou starting school, but hopefully also time for more fun!
We haven’t got a lot of craft done this week, we’ve been busy with appointments, parties, play dates and park visits! It was lovely this week to catch up with people we haven’t seen since the schools broke up, Lou was desperate to spend time some time with her friends, she’s done so incredibly well over the last 4 weeks, out of routine and the structure that an education setting provides, but I felt a bit of “I’m bored with you now mummy” this week! I can’t believe we’ve already done 4 weeks, I think the last 2 weeks will surely fly by!
Activities this week:
1. ‘Cloud Dough’
I’ve been wanting to try this out with Lou for a while now, I used to make it for the children I worked with in the nursery. We used baby oil and plain flour to make a very soft consistency, you can use food colouring but we left it plain. We did this outside with a tray as it does create quite a lot of mess! Lou loved the way she could create shape moulds with the dough she said “it’s like my motion sand!” 2. Sensory play dough
I made play dough using our normal recipe of:
2 cups plain flour
2 cups salt
2 cups water
2 table spoons of oil
2 tea spoons of Cream of Tartar
In the past I’ve then added to the microwave but I’ve found that adding boiling water works just as well.
I coloured the dough pink with food colouring and added Cinnamon. Lou liked smelling the dough and creating her own cupcakes.
3. Glittery Foam
Lou requested to have foam outside so I used shaving foam and to add an extra touch, glitter. She absolutely loved getting it on her hands!
4. Spaghetti, pasta and rice play.
I am hoping to buy a ‘Tuff Spot’ or ‘Builder’s tray’ for sensory/messy play purposes. But for now I used an old under the bed storage box to put some rice, pasta and spaghetti in, both girls immediately wanted to get inside to sit amongst the materials! They used tea set items to transfer the rice, etc. Moo wanted to eat the pasta!
5. Nature shot of the week
There was excitement on Thursday evening when a hot air balloon went straight over our house and landed only a few fields away!
6. Baking ~ Cupcakes
We made some cupcakes for Lou’s friends’ joint 3rd and 4th party. It’s strange how Lou just wants the icing off the cake – yet I gave her a bit of icing and sprinkles in a bowl and she said “I don’t want this mummy!”
This week was a big one for me, some very positive steps forward in terms of my Blogging:
I was asked by a local children’s centre to help run a group for parents that have children with additional needs, I will update more on this as I find out more.
I was approached by the charity Family Fund, who I write posts for, if they could use one of my photos in their marketing materials 🙂 this was the first time that I’ve received recognition for my photography. I now hope to pursue this and get a better camera than just taking pictures on my smart phone!
We’re now looking forward to week 5 🙂 Where I’ll be labelling lots of school uniform and thinking about the complicated task of school shoes!
Thanks for reading 🙂
This week we got quite a lot packed in, we were able to complete more craft and sensory activities and we got a couple of days out as well due to daddy being off work for 3 days.
1. Salt dough hearts.
This was one of those activities that allowed Lou to explore and she enjoyed the texture and feel of the salt dough but I don’t think I cooked the dough for long enough in the oven and therefore we found that the PVA went stringy on contact with the heart shape! Lou found this highly amusing and enjoyed touching it! I will repeat this activity next time and learn from the experience!
The salt dough recipe we used to make salt dough was:
1 cup of salt
1 cup if water
2 cups of flour
And we added in some pink food colouring.
We made a mixture of PVA glue and water to create a varnish effect and placed on some buttons and sequins.
I also found that the buttons and sequins should have been pressed into the soft dough but as it then couldn’t be put into the oven it would take several days to properly dry out.
2. Salt dough hedgehogs.
This was more successful than the salt dough hearts! We collected some twigs on a walk and these were used to create the hedgehog’s spikes. We allowed the hedgehog to dry out naturally then hope to paint it. We used the salt dough recipe as above.
3. ‘Puffy paint’ practice.
I wanted to give this a go before creating some puffy paint ice creams, as I’d never attempted this activity before.
We used PVA glue mixed with paint and shaving foam. The texture was amazing and the mixture did puff up! Lou was immediately fascinated by the texture and tried a bit out on paper with a paint brush, but she much preferred feeling the mixture on her hands!
This soon turned into a colour mixing activity and Lou was delighted as she said: “I’ve made green” and “I’ve made purple!” She wanted to print the new colours into paper. I’m unsure if I used enough PVA glue in the mixture as I’m running out, as when the pictures created with a paint brush dried they dried flat rather than puffy, or whether this is what is supposed to happen!
4. ‘Soapy foam’ in water tray.
Moo was really into water play this week, she enjoyed getting the soapy foam (children’s bath product) onto her hands and squeezed it! We cannot use shaving foam with Moo as it irritates her skin as she gets Eczema. Soapy foam is kinder to children’s skin and is moldable, bought from a supermarket.
5. Day out for Daddy’s birthday.
We went on a 10-minute train journey to Worcester where we moved from when Lou was 2. We are lucky to live very close to a train station and as daddy was off work on holiday, we were able to visit the park, had lunch out and discovered the fountains by the riverside close to Worcester bridge.
Lou was curious about the water fountains but wanted to stay on the edge to watch. When I said that she could go in further she replied: “But I’ll get my shoes wet mummy!” Such a contrast to the 2 year old I took here regularly – when she used to run through the water!
Overall I was so impressed with Lou on this trip, her usual limit away from home is 2 hours but she lasted 4 hours on this day! We had some little ‘wobbles’ but these were quickly averted. This is the first proper family trip we’ve successfully managed in about a year! We decided to put the reins on Lou as it was a very busy place and she still tends to run off or bump into things. We try and gauge the safety aspects and whether she should wear them or not.
This has to be my favourite still life photo from the day:
I hadn’t seen this sculpture in Cripplegate park before, as I haven’t visited for 2 years, I found it great to capture as it’s made from mosaic tiles. I had to Google the meaning behind this 9ft sculpture (as I often ‘Google’ stuff!) It was unveiled in April 2016.
Week 3 was a successful and busy one! I hope that week 4 brings much of the same!
I just love it when the kitchen is a hive of craft activity 🙂
At the end of July ‘Mess Around’ did a session at Lou’s new school, as she wasn’t able to attend I searched their website and was delighted to find that a session was being held on 6th August at a local village hall, only a few miles away from where we live.
‘Mess Around’ provide messy play sessions from babies aged 6 months old, (sitting unaided) to children aged 5. These sessions are run all over the UK.
I was keen to book Lou onto the session as she thrives on messy, or sensory activities. I also wanted Moo to experience the session as she’s more on the move now and has already taken an interest in messy play, particularly sand and water play.
There was a great variety of experiences set out all over the hall including:
● Yellow gloop
● Coloured rice
● Coloured spaghetti
● Ribbons and streamers
● Paint with a variety of rollers and painting tools
● Purple play dough with cupcake moulds and stand
● Sand tray
● Water tray including water beads
● Coloured rice pudding
● Balloons covered in shaving foam and tennis rackets/swatters
● Coloured porridge oats – made into a Union Jack pattern
This all made for a very inviting a colourful site on a ‘Carnival Sports Party’ them, which tied in nicely with the start of the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. The session included music of a up-beat, party style.
The organisers had taken a lot of care and attention in laying out the materials on the sports party theme, and included medals and cups into the ‘Tuff Spot’ or builder’s tray.
We hadn’t encountered ‘water beads’ before, both Lou and Moo were fascinated with their texture and Lou was surprised she could pick them up as she described them as “flat under the water.”
We were fascinated with the yellow gloop mould that could be explored with cooking spoons and spatulas.
The highlight of the session, especially for Lou, was the foam machine – at first she wasn’t sure but she got right in there and throughly enjoyed the feeling of the foam raining down!
I would recommend Mess Around sessions to anyone, they are well organised and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly, they went around at various points with a bubble machine. There was an area that included wash bowls and towels to clean up at the end, it was also good to be reminded when booking the session to ensure the children wore old clothes so they could fully explore the materials on offer.
Crafty Cooks run regional cooking sessions for children from 2.5 years. They recognise that this is an important skill for young children. A Crafty Cooks session lasts for 1 hour and is great for fussy eaters as the session includes tasting foods and where they come from. Children make both savoury and sweet items and a recipe card is handed out at the end of the session which can be referred to again.
Lou attended a one-off holiday session, but for the children that attend weekly term-time sessions, they can collect lots of recipe sheets which can be kept in a canvas bag with the Crafty Cooks logo on.
In this session Lou made mini savory pasties. The children are given a set of equipment each and ingredients needed such as onion and jacket potato had been pre cooked. Lou made her own pastry, and each child could go up to the front to use some traditional weighted scales. As Lou is a ‘Sensory Seeker’ she thrived on using her hands to rub the butter and flour together, to make the mixture like ‘sand.’ I wish I’d been able to take photos of this process but it was lovely as parents are encouraged to get stuck in and help too! Lou also enjoyed squeezing the potato out of the jacket skin to help make the filling, and was delighted to use a cheese grater where she could turn the handle.
To roll out the pastry and cut into circles reminded Lou of ‘play dough.’ She was happy to hand over her pasties on the oven tray for baking.
It was great that the children are encouraged to be independent, for example: To take their equipment to the sink area and get a cloth to help clean the table.
Once the pasties were baking in the oven the children were offered some potato wedges and a variety of cheeses to taste. I was keen for Lou to try cheese as we’re currently re-introducing dairy into her diet and she’s been unfamiliar with cheese after being dairy free from 6 months old. She tried different cheeses but she really enjoyed the sweet potato wedges, which I’ve made at home but she’s not wanted to try them until now. I’ll be making some more at home for her from now on!
The end product pasties were lovely, we took them home wrapped in tin foil and Lou tried one for lunch and enjoyed it, and also saved one for daddy as “pasties are his favourite!”
It was great seeing Lou making the pasties and I think this encouraged her to try the end product as she’d made it herself. And with Lou being a fussy eater, this has encouraged me to bake more at home with Lou.
For more information please visit:
For the main website where you can search for sessions in your area. The session we attend was in a nearby village based at the session leader’s home.
This week we have been very busy, we haven’t got as many craft or sensory activities completed as last week as we’ve done more organised activities and play dates at the park. The weather has been slightly better than last week so we’ve also spent more time outside.
Cardboard layer heart.
Our main craft activity was creating this cardboard hanging heart. I cut out 3 different sized hearts and Lou pained them in colours of her choice. We let them dry and then stuck the hearts together, and made a hole to thread some patterned ribbon. Lou has requested that she hangs this up in her bedroom.
This was such a popular activity this week. Lou played with this dough every day and it smelt lovely, being scented with vanilla essence! Lou made this dough herself during a session at the SMILE Centre, Malvern.
A social story was used as a recipe guide, using symbols as well as the actual words. The ingredients used were:
– 2 cups of plain flour.
– Half a cup of salt.
– 2 tablespoons of Cream of Tartar.
– 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
– Food colouring.
– Essence – this time was vanilla.
– 1 cup of boiling water.
Mix all ingredients together until they become a dough ball.
Time at the park.
We enjoyed going to our local park and another in a nearby village. The girls met up with some friends which benefitted them greatly as they’ve both missed the company of other children, especially Lou as she’s been used to interacting with other children at Pre School.
This was a set activity I’d arranged for Lou to take part in. Where she made mini pasties. This was a great activity for Lou to explore all of her senses. I’ll be writing more details on this particularly activity in a Blog post on its own.
‘Mess Around’ session.
This has to be the highlight of our whole week! Another set activity that was booked in advance online. The girls arrived to a village hall full of messy play activities, including coloured rice and spaghetti, water beads and gloop. This was the most beneficial session for Lou – my sensory seeker. I’ll be writing an individual Blog post about this session.
We look forward to reporting back about how our week 3 goes.
We have got quite a lot done this week and Lou has enjoyed keeping busy! Here’s a few of the activities we got up to:
Book pointer wands:
This was a simple but effective activity. We used lolly sticks, cardboard and sequin stars and lots of glitter and PVA glue to create these pointer wands. The lolly sticks were coloured using felt -tipped pens. The wands can be used as a pointer when reading, they will come in useful when Lou starts school.
I’d never thought of this idea before – Pinterest is a great place for these ideas! We used paints and forks to print these flower heads. The stalks and leaves were painted on using a thin paint brush.
I found a template of a seahorse and Lou decorated using sequins and again, lots of glitter and PVA glue!
We started off the week with a sunny day, so provided buckets of water and paint brushes. This was a popular activity and Lou enjoyed also tipping the water out and stamping in it!
Pots and pans:
Such a simple activity using saucepans, a colander and wooden spoons. Both Lou and Moo enjoyed creating their own sounds!
Rice, pasta and spaghetti play:
Tea sets are very popular in our household at the moment. So we added some rice, pasta and spaghetti to the ‘tea party.’
This was the most popular activity of the week. This non-cook dough is the easier I’ve ever made. All I used was some fragranced conditioners from Aldi at 35p each and some cornflour. The consistency is very soft and we used Raspberry and Tea Tree & Mint conditioners, tinting the dough slightly, we liked the Tea Tree and Mint dough best as it smelt like peppermint creams!
We also conpleted a music session with a children’s CD with popular songs such as ‘Old Mcdonald’ and did the actions for ‘Dingle Dangle Scarecrow.’ The girls both enjoyed using instruments to the songs and this keeps me in practice for my music sessions ready for September!
Looking forward to sharing our second week’s activities 🙂
I have finally got around to finishing my 2 plans for activities to do with Lou over the next 6 weeks of the summer holidays. Lou is the type of child that requires constant stimulation, she thrives whilst doing craft activities and we’ve already seen the positive effects a ‘Sensory Diet’ has on her. I have always been a planner, I need to have everything written out in front of me to focus and ensure that I have the appropriate resources available for the activities. This need for planning comes from being in the childcare profession for the past 12 years, and it never really leaves!