A Summer Sensory Tub
Firstly I would like to say thank you very much to Claire for hosting my guest post!
I first discovered sensory tubs when I read about them on the Counting Coconuts blog – Basically, sensory tubs are a large container filled with all sorts of different sensory materials for children to touch, interact with and explore. They often have a theme – perhaps seasonal or based around a particular colour or texture.
Many people prepare them for very young children, although I didn’t make one for my son until he was at least three and a half. Although it’s great for younger children to have the sensory experience, and my younger daughter definitely enjoys sensory play, now that my son is a little older he takes a lot more enjoyment from the sensory tubs that I make for him. They entertain him for a great deal longer than they would have done when he was a toddler.
The first sensory tub that I made was a beach sensory tubs I have made a couple more since. Now that summer is finally here, I created this summer sensory tub for my children to play with.
I always use dyed rice as a base for my tubs. It’s really easy to make. Just buy some plain white rice (the cheapest that you can find is fine), place a good amount in a bowl and mix in some food dye. You can add more colouring depending on how deep you want the colour to be. I’ve found that some colours work better than others – yellow and red always come out well for me. A squirt of antibacterial hand gel will mean that the coloured rice dries quickly enough to use straightaway, otherwise you will need to spread it out on a baking tray or similar and leave it to dry.
For this summer sensory tub I made some bright yellow rice, to represent a sandy beach, and found some shells to place on it. I had some mixed coloured rice left over from previous play sessions so I used that for the other half of the tub. I usually try to include some kind of role play activity, and so inside I also placed some cones of paper and some pom poms so that the children could make pretend ice creams.
|Summer Sensory Tub|
When giving the children a sensory tub I always raid the kitchen cupboards and drawers for things that can be used to scoop and pour the rice. This time I put out an ice cube tray, a small metal bucket, some seashell chocolate moulds and a couple of spoons. Then I used an old tablecloth on the floor underneath the tub, to at least try and contain some of the inevitable mess!
Both children spent a lot of time playing with this. My daughter (22 months) enjoyed spooning the rice in and out of the different containers, and pouring it over herself. My son (4) invented a series of different role playing games. The rice started as sprinkles on the ice cream, became chocolates and sweets, and then he moved on to using it to recreate a cement mixer pouring concrete which he had seen in action earlier in the day!
If you are looking for some sensory tub inspiration I can thoroughly recommend having a browse through Counting Coconuts and The Imagination Tree where you will find some fantastic ideas for sensory play. Have fun!
(Do make sure that you supervise young children when they are playing with sensory tubs – they can contain things which are very tempting for little ones to put in mouths or up noses!)
Jennifer is Mum to two and lives in West Sussex. She blogs about parenting, craft and travel at Jennifer’s Little World