SENSORY PLAY is a bit of a buzz word these days. Some of you might be familiar with it and already do it and others might wonder what it actually is and why we do it. Let me break it down simply.
The definition of Sensory play is ANY activity that stimulates a child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Through this sensory play they get to explore and use scientific thinking all while having fun. The importance of sensory play CANNOT be underestimated. By encouraging the use of a child’s senses through play, you support their cognitive growth, language development, as well as their gross and fine motor skills (side note: they might actually leave alone for 5 minutes, score!).
Now you’ve probably seen those moms on Instagram that come up with incredibly intricate and beautifully detailed sensory activities and my hat goes off to them! They are doing amazing things! But most of us don’t have the time or resources to put that much effort into these activities. I go by a simple rule if it takes MORE time to set it up then they will play with it, I’m out!
So here my dear friends are five SIMPLE activities you can do with one bag of mini pumpkins found at your local grocery store. Set up for each is less than 5 minutes and should give you much longer than that in engagement!
The Pumpkin Bath
This one is probably the easiest to set up and should give your little one tons of entertainment. Here’s what you do 1. place your pumpkins in a bin of some sort 2. Add soap and water 3. Provide a cleaning brush of some kind and that’s it! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how content they will be to “clean the pumpkins” over and over again.
All you need is your pumpkins, paint, some brushes and a safe place to do it. If you head to Pinterest you’ll find a ton of creative ways to paint a pumpkin but you can just keep it basic and let the kid(s) go to town.
Side note: if paint mess scares you, substitute with stickers and BOOM you got another easy activity.
Ok this one is basically the reverse of the above. Instead of painting the pumpkin you use the pumpkin to paint. Gather some paper (or paper plates) let the child dip the pumpkins in paint and place them around their paper as desired. Fall art complete, Happy Halloween Grandma!
Pumpkin color sort
For this one you want to gather objects and toys around the house in “fall colors” think red, yellow, orange, brown, and even black (for that Halloween twist). Place them all in a bin together. Than have your child take them out and place them either in bowls or on top of colored construction paper and sort by colors (or just let them play with the objects, my kid can’t be the only one who loves placing things in and out of containers).
Spin and learn
For this one you’re going to want to use a permanent marker to write on those fun little bumps of the pumpkins. For younger ones you can put shapes or colors on them. For older ones sight words or math facts. The kids “spin” the pumpkin and name what they see. For older children they can write the answers down on paper. I used this one in my teaching days and the students LOVED it, anything that gives learning a new “twist”.
Heres what I love about sensory play, once people realize how simple it can be and yet SUCH meaningful learning comes from it, they want more! If that’s you, pintrest and instagram have inspiration for days to keep your kids learning and give you a moment to finish your coffee while it’s still hot! Let the learning commence and Happy Fall Y’all!