Living in New Jersey means winters are COLD! The past several years, they have been extremely cold which often translates into days trapped inside our homes. This can be very challenging when your children have not yet developed the ability to entertain themselves.
As a parent of 2 kids under the age of 4, I have found sensory based activities especially helpful for my children as they really enjoy and seek different types of indoor activities. As a mom, I also find them helpful because they can keep my kids occupied as I prepare a meal, do some housework or, dare I say it, attempt to drink a cup of HOT coffee (just one cup is all I really want). So this winter take some snow, sand or even shaving cream and join us as we continue to explore sensory based play.
In continuing with the exploration of sensory activities for the Mommy University series Sensory Play, we bring:
4 Winter Sensory-Based Activities
Snow (and Water) Sensory Bin
Too cold out? Bring the snow inside! You can put some snow inside a large plastic container and let the kids play with it. They can even make a mini snowman. Another option is to paint the snow with watercolor, spray bottles or even just medicine droppers filled with different colored water. The possibilities are endless. My kids also love using Safari TOOBs such as Penguins and Arctic in the snow to create their own winter adventures. Then, when the snow melts, they use their Deep Sea Creatures and Baby Sea Life Toobs.
Ice is Nice
There are several options for this type of sensory meets science fun. You can freeze different colored ice cubes, place them inside a bin and have the kids spoon salt to see what it dissolves, what paths are formed and how it feels. You can skip the food coloring but the color enables children to see the paths formed more easily. Another option for this project is to grab one of the icicles outside your home and bring it inside. Have the kids measure it and see how long it takes before it melts. Please note: all activities should be closely supervised.
Seashells by the Seashore
For some reason no matter how much I enjoy the pleasures of winter, it always make me miss summer. A summer-based sensory bin is a fun way to beat the winter blues. It is also a great option to get kids excited about a winter vacation to an island (now wouldn’t that be nice). For this bin, you can fill a container with Kinetic Sand or Sands Alive and add some seashells that you collected from this past summer (or bought from the store). You can also add the sea creatures we mentioned in the snow sensory bin!
When I picked my children up from daycare, they were happy as can be exploring shaving cream. It has a great consistency, is readily available and is especially messy. It is best to make sure the kids are wearing smocks for this as they sometimes love to put shaving cream on themselves instead of the table. I recommend the Melissa & Doug Artist’s Smock or My First Crayola Art Smock. For more learning fun, you can add watercolor to the shaving cream to help expand color recognition and the understanding of what happens when certain colors are mixed together. Another fun option is tracing letters or patterns into the shaving cream.
There are only so many days of winter but it can become overwhelming when every minute seems to be counted, so look around your home to see what else can make up a sensory bin!