“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” — Benjamin Franklin
Children and even adults learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses.From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving and hearing.
- Taste – the stimulation that comes when our taste receptors react to chemicals in our mouth.
- Touch – the stimulation that comes from touch receptors in our skin that react to pressure, heat/cold, or vibration.
- Smell – the stimulation of chemical receptors in the upper airways (nose).
- Sight – the stimulation of light receptors in our eyes, which our brains then interpret into visual images.
- Hearing – the reception of sound, via mechanics in our inner ear.
- Body awareness (proprioception) – the feedback our brains receive from stretch receptors in our muscles and pressure receptors in joints which enable us to gain a sense where our bodies are in space.
- Balance – the stimulation of the vestibular system of the inner ear to tell us our body position in relation to gravity.
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing.Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.
“Play is the work of childhood.” —Jean Piaget
According to Piaget's theory of development, children from the age of zero to eight are in two different stages of development:
1)Sensori-motor stage(0-2 years):
Child uses the senses to explore this brand new world. How things feel, taste, sound, look like, and how your baby moves in order to explore these things aids in their cognitive learning. They quickly learn how much strength they need to pick up a block or if something feels soft or hard.
2) Pre-operational stage(2-8 years):
They build on the sensory experiences they had as a baby and toddler to produce symbols and language and other academic skills.
BENEFITS OF SENSORY PLAY
- Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways.
- Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
- This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry).
- Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child.
- It aids in developing and enhancing memory.
SENSORY BASE RECIPES FOR KIDS
As a mother of four kids,my motherhood journey is largely a matter of trial and error.Everyday we learn a new lesson.Now when my youngest has turned one,I am in hunt of new taste safe plays to keep him busy and stimulate hid senses at the same time.
Tips to set up sensory bins:
- Set up sensory bin play after a snack or lunch or nap when your 1 year old is full and content.
- Use taste safe fillers for 1 year olds (this is not to let them eat the filler, but to make it safe if some happens to get into their mouth).
- Be mindful about the choking size items.
- Theme based bins are more inviting.
- Keep in mind about the child's passion, skills to work on and sensory challenges.
Finding baby sensory bins that are appropriate for a 12 month old can be challenging and for younger babies can be even more challenging.To make life easier for the moms here,sharing a few easy,cost effective and taste safe recipes.
Ingredients:1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
3/4 cup of water
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Any seasonings or scents(optional)
- Add the water, oil and lemon juice to a medium non-stick pot and heat on medium heat on the stove
Add food coloring, liquid scents to the water .
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and any dry seasonings.
After the water is hot, but not boiling, slowly add the dry ingredients to the pot and mix to combine.
Continuously stir until the ingredients combine, dry out and begin to form a ball. If there are parts that seem a bit sticky, just flatten the dough out and put the sticky side down on the bottom of the pot . Flip back and forth until it dries out.Don’t cook it too long.
Transfer on a sheet of wax paper to cools down a bit.Knead the dough for a minute or two to bring it all together.
2 cup water
1-2 tsp. cream of tartar ( preserves the play dough)
1/3 cup salt (prevents from sticking)
1 tbs. vegetable or coconut oil
- In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup of water, oil, and food dye. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Next, add in 2 cups of flour, 1-2 teaspoons of cream of tartar, and 1/3 cup of salt and stir.
If your color is uneven simply knead the playdough after it has cooled down a bit.
1 cup salt.
1 tbsp oil.
1 cup cold water.
2 drops liquid food colouring
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, and form a well in the center.
Add the cooking oil and food coloring to the dry ingredients.
Add water and stir.Knead your play dough until you reach your desired consistency.
PLAYDOUGH WITH NON-FLOUR BASES:
Peanut butter playdough (powerfulmothering )
Marsh mallow playdough(busylittlekiddies)
Peanut butter playdough :
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Mix the honey and peanut butter together in a bowl then add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix.If your mix comes out too dry add a little bit of olive oil to make it more rollable.
Marsh mallow playdough:
Marshmallows – white, pink, or a combination of both .
Drops of food coloring – optional.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add water to the marshmallows. If you want to change the color of the marshmallow play dough, add a few drops of food coloring now.
Microwave for 30 seconds or until the marshmallows expand and almost double in size.
Remove carefully from the microwave – the bowl is hot.
Add oil and powdered sugar and start stirring until it forms a soft paste. Now, add more powdered sugar up to 1/2 cup or until it forms a dough that kids can play with.If sticky, add more powdered sugar.
If too dry, add a teaspoon of lukewarm water until the texture is perfect and easy to knead and roll on parchment paper.
Use 1/2 cup of Nutella and 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar. Stir the ingredients together in a bowl, as soon as a dough formed, finish the mixing with my hands.
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/4 cup water
- Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until everything is completely mixed together.
Hand it over to your little one to play with.
Sprinkle in a few cookie cutters to extend the fun.
1 cup smooth almond butter
1½ cups almond meal (almond flour)
4-6 tbs runny honey – start with 4tbs (¼ cup)
Mix everything together, tip it out of the bowl and knead it for a while. After kneading the dough for a minute or two it will stick together really well and have a nice soft consistency and deep earthy colour.
1 cup of pre-made frosting (vanilla or white)
2 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
- Place the powdered sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.
Slowly add 2 cups the powder sugar to the bowl and mix on low speed.
Continually scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are mixing.
Before adding the last 3/4 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl, touch the dough to test the “stickiness” of it.
Add the remaining powdered sugar until the dough feels soft as opposed to sticky.
1 Tbsp of vinegar
A few drops of food coloring.
1. Place the rice, vinegar and food coloring into a ziplock bag.
2. Shake the bag until all of the rice is covered in color.If the rice isn’t the color you want, add more food coloring.
3. Pour the rice out onto a plate and leave it to dry.
You can put it outside in the sun or leave it on the kitchen counter overnight .
Along with the rice make sure you have a whole heap of spoons, bowls, jugs, and funnels for pouring and scooping the rice.
1/2 cup corn starch
3/4 cup vegetable oil
- Add the flour and corn starch to the bowl.
- Drizzle in the oil and stir/whisk it to get an even mix.
2cups of cornstarch
1/4 cup of olive oil
Mix in a plastic zip bag and pour it out into the sensory bin. Then gave it one more mix up with your hands just to make sure that it is evenly mixed.
Store in a zip lock bag for reuse.
2 Tbs cocoa powder (” or food coloring for bright oobleck!)
3/4 cup water
2. Add3/4 cup of water to the cornstarch.
3. Mix the water and cornstarch together. You can either use your hands or a spoon.
4. Add more cornstarch if the consistency is too watery, or add water if the consistency is too stiff.
Taste safe slime comes with a variety of recipes and Muddlypuddly is an expert in creating these slimes.
Tapioca pearls/sago flour slime
Pysllium husk/Ispaghula slime
Tapioca pearls/sago flour slime:
- Mix equal parts tapioca flour and coloured water in a microwave-safe bowl.
Keep cooking for 30 seconds at a time,stirring and giving it a quick rinse under the tap when it all binds together.
Put it back in the microwave until the whole thing turns translucent(it's not ready if cloudy).
- Rinse in cold water and knead with wet hands.
This is so stretchy clear and unflecked .As this is stickier,keep a bowl nearby to wet hands or slime.
Pysllium husk slime:
Food Colouring (optional)
Fairly large microwave-safe bowls
- Mix 3 tsp pysllium husk and 1 cup of water together. Add food colouring if desired.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stopping to check every 2-2.5 minutes. If the mixture begins to bubble, give it a good mix before continuing to microwave.
After five minutes, remove bowl from microwave and let sit until cool.
It is prepared same as psyllium husk slime except that milk replaces 1/2 cup water.It is stickier,keep a bowl nearby to wet hands or slime.
3 tsp pysllium husk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
Kinetic sand is play sand that is soft and crumbly, but also holds its shape when squeezed or pressed.
Semolina based kinetic sand:
2 tablespoon of semolina
1 cup of plain flour
2 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp of food colouring
- Mix the liquids in a container and then pour into the flour mixture.
Add a little flour if you find the sand too sticky, or a little oil if you find that the sand doesn’t hold well together when you make it into a ball.
Keep this edible sand away from moisture,it will turn sticky and mushy if mixed with water.To store, keep in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.Cleaning up is a little bit tricky because the sand is slightly oily.
Corn flour based kinetic sand:
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
1 tbsp cream of tartar
2-4 tbsp of water
- Pour the baking soda, sugar, corn starch and cream of tartar into a bowl. Mix well.
Add a few drops of food coloring to 1/4 cup water.
Add 2 tbsp of water to the mixture and mix using a whisk.
If the sand doesn’t clump together, add another tablespoon of water and mix well using the whisk. It should feel like a fluffy texture.Place in a zip close bag or air tight container with no air inside.
Aquafaba/chick pea foam is a great egg substitute in baking .It is so satisfying to turn the liquid into an amazingly fluffy and taste safe .
2 cans of chickpeas
cream of tartar
- Drain chickpea liquid into a large bowl.
Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar into the bowl.
Whip ingredients with mixer on high until soft peaks form (about 4 minutes).
Add food coloring to color chickpea foam. Briefly whip the color in to incorporate.
- Pour 1 Cup Rice Cereal into a container.
Add 3 Tablespoons of Melted Coconut Oil to the rice cereal.
Mix and let the mixture cool.
TASTE SAFE MUD:
1 can of chocolate frosting
1 cup Corn flour
- Stir frosting and add flour a little at a time.
Knead until it forms a dough.
If it is sticky add a little flour until it no longer sticks to your hand. If it is stiff, add a couple drops of water until it reaches the right consistency.
EDIBLE WATER BEADS:
Food coloring (optional)
- Boil a pan of water.You need enough water that all the tapioca pearls are submerged. As the tapioca pearls boil, the water gets thicker.
3. Rinse the pearls in cold water and you can start playing with them.
4.If you are adding color to the pearls divide the pearls up into separate bowls, stir in the food coloring, and let them sit for 3 hours. Rinse the extra food coloring off in water and now they are ready to play.
corn flour based
Sugar based recipe:
1 cup (220g) granulated sugar
5-15 drops liquid food colouring
1. Place the sugar in a small bowl and add 5-15 drops of food colouring depending on how bright you want the result to be.
2. Stir well with a fork until all the sugar is coloured.
3. Allow the coloured sugar to dry in sun, then seal in an air tight container.
Cornflour based recipe:
4 cup water
4 tbsp corn flour
OHP/tranparent plastic sheets
1. Add 4 cup water to a pain and mix 4 table spoon corn flour to it.
2.Cook the mix on medium flame and stir continuously till it turns thick and translucent,
3. Transfer the mix in equal portions to bowls and add desired food colouring to it and combine.
4.Spread the mix in medium thickness on transparent plastic sheets and dry it under sun till it turns hard.It may take 24 hours to dry.
5.Separate the hard sheet formed from the transparent plastic sheet.
6.Grind the hard sheets formed in a grinder to fine powder.
Here's a comprehensive list of edible sensory base or fillers
||Powdered graham cracker
|Freeze dried ice cream