We went a bit Halloween crazy in our parent-infant art therapy group today. As well as making footprints into ghosts and handprints into spiders we were trying out some new textures in our sensory play. These were all very easy and would still be fun when it wasn’t Halloween just by putting them into a shallow tray for babies to feel and experiment with. With sensory play it is best to let little ones take their time and explore the textures. Some things that are new or feel cold they might not like at first so don’t force them. Usually they will take a while cautiously testing before getting interested and stuck in. Here are the 4 recipes for our sensory mixtures:
Easy peasy – just make up sugar free jelly to the instructions and set it inside your scooped out pumpkin.
Good spaghetti till soft in boiling water and while it is still hot add a blob of food colouring (gel or paste works best) and a slug of oil then mix it all through. Leave it to cool and then you can play without the colour coming off on babies hands.
Mix a packet of cornflour with water a little at a time. It’s quite tricky to mix but try not to add too much. The texture of this is amazing. If you try to press into it quickly it feels like a solid whereas if you slowly lower your hand in it feels like a runny liquid. Bigger kids will like this too and can play at trying to keep a ball of it solid by passing it between their hands before slowing down and letting it trickley through their fingers.
For our last texture we decided to use the pumpkin leftovers that we’d scooped out. Put any big lumps into a blender or nutribullet to get a nice mush and then keep some of the stringly bits to add back in for texture. We took out all the seeds in case any babies tried to eat them but if you were doing this with toddlers you could leave them in for something extra to explore.
If you feel like this is just a bit too messy or you, or your little one isn’t sure, or you just want to keep the play going in a different way, try one of our sensory bags. Take any of the textures that you like and put them into a ziplock freezer bag. Squeeze all the air out and seal the bag up. We added extra tape round the edges for leak protection. Babies can then press and squeeze to feel the textures without getting covered. They can also lay it flat on the floor or a highchair tray and enjoy seeing what happens if they ‘draw’ into it with a finger.
Happy Messy Halloween!