As we quickly approach the last few weeks of Summer, now is the perfect time to get outside soak in the sun and play. The warm weather also opens the door to more messy sensory play that can be done outdoors for easier clean up. Here are a few of my favorite warm weather sensory activities.
Water play is obviously a great way to cool off on these hot summer days. Kid pools, sprinklers, splash pads, and water tables are all great ways to play with water. One of my favorite ways to play with water on a hot day is by freezing it. Use an ice cube tray, craft sticks, and food coloring to make taste safe paint. Freeze some favorite figurines in a muffin tin with some water and provide your child with warm water and salt to help rescue them. Or my favorite, fill a few balloons with water and a dinosaur figurine, freeze, remove the balloon and you have a fun dinosaur egg that your child is sure to love.
Gelatin digs are so fun and perfect for a hot day! Use unflavored gelatin and add food coloring to get a fun color without the added sugar. Toddlers will love to help make this, it's a great one to make in the morning and play with after naptime. Make multiple colors and let your child experiment with mixing colors. Pour into a dish and add some fun figurines, pom pom balls, or even fruit to keep it edible for little ones. Let it set for a few hours then take it outside and let your child rescue the goodies and cool off with the cold gelatin. Follow this up with a fun bubble bath to extend the play while getting cleaned up!
Here’s one for babies, toddlers, and older kids too. Taste safe chalk paint. Add a few drops of food coloring to ¾ cup of water then mix in ¾ cup cornstarch and you’ll have the perfect edible chalk paint. For babies that are able to sit up unassisted, place chalk paint in a container in front of them and let them go to town. For toddlers, fill a muffin tin with the chalk paint and some paint brushes and let them paint away. Older kids may enjoy the paint brushes as well, but you can also add the paint to squeeze bottles and watch them make some fun designs. Best part is, this is also totally washable. However you choose to play this is sure to be winner.
Sometimes sensory play can seem overwhelming, the set up, the clean up, is it worth it? All I can say is that sensory play and messy play specifically has many benefits such as: it can build cognitive skills, improve fine motor skills, nurture language development, promotes creativity and imagination, encourages social development, and so much more. I encourage all parents to incorporate sensory play into their child’s life, the benefits far outweigh the clean up. Need more help incorporating sensory play into your home? Stephanie is here to help! Reach out to her at Stephanie@integrativemediowa.com to schedule a home consult today.