Back when I was making the sensory bottles for Lewis I decided to try another baby sensory activity that I had seen on Pinterest. I originally found this post on 56 Sensory Play Ideas for Baby on the blog Growing A Jeweled Rose. There are a lot of awesome ideas here, and one of the ones I liked the look of was the Sensory Bags. The ideas posts says that the sensory bags are “great for babies still putting everything in their mouth and they are mess free too! ” Hmm, sounds perfect for Lewis!
The basic idea of the bags is that you take a ziploc baggy, fill it with something squishy such as paint, shampoo, lotion, etc. and you can also add extras like glitter or small objects. This is another activity that I had done a version of in my classroom, filling bags with paint and taping them down for the kids to draw and “write” on. For Lewis’ bag I squirted in some hotel sample bottles of lotion and shampoo that we had sitting around, and topped it off with a little extra baby lotion. I also added some green rice, since I had colored too much of it when I made the sensory bottles with rice. Since it is just food coloring on the rice the green color came off and colored the goo in the bag. The original post recommends sealing the opening of the bag with packing tape, to help make sure there was no leakage. I had some old ducky packing tape sitting around and this happened to be the first thing I found when looking for tape. Perfect! The bag was nice and squishy, and all sealed shut. Time to give it to Lewis!
Of course the bag went straight to his mouth and he had no interest in just squishing it with his hands. The original post seems to think this is ok, but I started to worry about the bag busting open. Unfortunately my ten year old ducky tape wasn’t as sticky as packing tape usually is. (Huh. I wonder why.) I took the bag from him, laid it on the floor and taped down two sides. I figured this way it would encourage him to explore with his hands and if it did happen to bust open at least he wouldn’t be getting a mouthful of lotion and shampoo.
Lewis almost immediately was able to pull it out from the tape, and then I noticed that the bag was leaking a bit of green slime. I thanked myself for having the sense to do this on the kitchen floor and not our apartment’s cream colored carpets. From first handing the bag to Lewis to the time that I tossed it in the trash was probably about 5 minutes. The kitchen floor felt a bit slippery from the lotion for a few days, even though I wiped it up with a wet cloth.
I still think the sensory bags are a fun idea, and I have a few ideas for how to make them work a bit better when we try them again. My first thought is that maybe these really aren’t that awesome for a baby, and perhaps I should wait until he is a little older to do this. I also realized that I’d be a little more comfortable doing this with a young baby if the bag was filled with a food substance, such as yogurt, applesauce, or pudding. This way I wouldn’t be freaking out about the potential for a mouthful of soap or lotion. Food coloring could still be used to add some interest to the bag and/or add-ins such as oats, pasta (cooked or uncooked), or cut up fruit. And of course it would also help to have a bag with a better seal, and tape that was actually sticky! (No ten year old packing tape next time.)
This was a very short lived activity for us, but we will probably try again in the future and hopefully have more success with it.