Cold and rainy days call for super engaging indoor amusement to get the kids senses movin’ and groovin’. Sensory play is an important part of childhood… of humanhood. Feeling, seeing, touching, hearing, and tasting help facilitate learning, memories, and more. Plus, using materials to stimulate our kids’ senses makes the activity that much more fun and engaging! PBS has a wonderful article about developing skills through sensory play, if you’d like to read more about it.
One thing is for certain, my kids love to help me bake or cook by adding ingredients or mixing and stirring. I’ve also noticed a lot of their time spent in the sandbox is making soups, medicines, cookies and cupcakes (dreamers!) – all out of stones, water, sand, and twigs. There was no doubt expanding on this pretend play was going to be a huge hit! With Halloween approaching, turning this sensory play magical by having them mix potions as little wizards would add excitement and a just a little focus.
They were oblivious to my plan at first, but I could feel their presumed anticipation and joy while I gathered and set up with super fun ingredients and tools. I collected aromatic, colorful, and texturally appealing materials from both indoors and out. I gathered empty bowls, bottles, cups, and utensils so these little wizards would have a variety of choices to create their magical potions. They would use this setup to create limitlessly, without any rules or restrictions – aside from not actually eating or drinking their work.
“Do you guys want to be little wizards and make magical potions and lotions?”
“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeaaahhh!”
They were in complete control, from ingredient choice to measurements, making things from “pretty” teas to magical slime. I heard things like “I’m making pancakes”, “Mommy, I made you tea to feel better”, and “Ewww, this is gross!” This activity kept them busy for hours. They even woke up wanting to play some more!
Some of the natural materials I gathered include:
- Rose petals
- Cinnamon sticks
- Fall leaves
- Fresh flower petals
- Spirulina (washes off easily)
- Psyllium seeds – Slimy when wet
- Chia seeds – Super slimy when soaked in water and visually appealing
- Starch flour – potato, arrowroot, tapioca, corn – Oobleck!
- Small and large bowls
- Measuring spoons
Although the material possibilities are endless, working with a starch flour is a must! Adding water to starch flour creates a liquid and a solid at the same time and puts the sensory experience over the top! The kids watched with excitement as the objects they placed in their cauldrons of goop sank ever so slowly. And then, when they dug them out, they were clean! Whaaat?! Magic.