We have been having some unfortunately rainy weather this week. I always dread the rain because it means Lewis and I will be cooped up inside all day, which often results in us both getting bored of playing with the same old books/toys/etc. When I saw the weather prediction at the start of the week I was not very excited to see rain, rain, and more rain.
At least since I had a warning of the weather I was able to prepare myself ahead of time a bit. I decided it was definitely time to break out the sensory bin again and try some new materials. I also plotted a trip to the library if we got a break in the weather. Yesterday we lucked out and actually had some sunshine. We made up for the rest of the week by going for two walks and also playing outside for a bit in the evening. We went to the library and as usual Lewis loved playing with the toys, walking around exploring, and charming the other kids and moms/grandmas who where there. He caught sight of some globes on a shelf and was extremely excited about these big balls that Mommy could make spin around.
I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though. Monday we seemed to keep busy pretty well even though we couldn’t go out. Now that Lewis is more mobile it’s a bit easier to keep busy since he can do some exploring on his own or lead me to where he wants to be, instead of sitting in one spot feeling bored and cranky. By Tuesday we were getting a little sick of being stuck inside, so when he napped I decided to plan a sensory bin for the afternoon. I haven’t done much messy play with him and I decided it was about time we start getting our hands dirty. Last week we played with used coffee grounds “dirt” in his bin outside, which was fun but he ate a lot more than anticipated. (I thought he’d try it, decide it was icky, and just play with it, but he just kept sticking his hands back in his mouth.)
I turned to Google for some ideas and found the fantastic blog Train Up a Child. There are several posts about sensory play and messy play for both babies and older kids. Lots of great ideas! Even though I was feeling inspired by many of the posts I read, I decided to go with an idea that I had thought of myself. (Amazing. Coming up with my own ideas instead of just copying things from Pinterest and people’s blogs.)
I shredded up a huge carrot and also some celery and put it in his bin in the fridge until we were ready to play. Not surprisingly, the celery didn’t shred super well, but it did add some nice color contrast. I left the veggies separated in the bin and let them just get mixed as he played. He’s doing awesome with his eating skills and has had shredded carrot as well as raw celery sticks before, so I knew these were things he could handle if he decided to put them in his mouth. Know your baby and only give them things you are comfortable with them eating. He ended up surprising me and only tried one or two bites of the carrots anyway and none of the celery.
He explored it a little bit and tried (unsuccessfully) to dump out the bin, and then didn’t seem to know what to do. He climbed over onto my lap so I scooped some up in my hand and held it out to him. This seemed to spark his interest a bit more and he started grabbing handfuls from my hand and throwing around the kitchen. Throwing is one of his latest skills that he has been practicing on everything he touches, so I should have expected this. After doing some throwing he decided he needed to get a little closer look at this stuff.
I bought him a bigger bin after he tried climbing in his water bin a couple weeks ago, so obviously I should have used that for this activity! I will keep that in mind from now on and start using the bigger bin more often so he can fully experience his sensory materials.
Today is very rainy again and I am planning to try “cloud dough” with him this afternoon. I have seen this recipe before using baby oil which is not safe to eat, but Train Up a Child makes the brilliant suggestion to just make it with cooking oil instead. The original recipe is to mix 8 cups of flour with 1 cup oil. I decided to start off small since I don’t know whether Lewis will be interested or not, and most likely it will just end up dumped on the floor. I made ours with 1 cup flour and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. I then had the brilliant idea to try to add some color. I put in several drops of green food coloring, mixed it up, and … why wasn’t it mixing?? Oh! Food color is water based and I’m trying to add it to a bunch of oil. Duh. No wonder the cloud dough I always see is white. Well, I guess I just had my science lesson for the day.
We’ll be playing with this later this afternoon, so photos will probably make their way into tomorrow’s Photo Friday post. I also have several more sensory bin ideas in mind, so sometime soon I may make a post listing various Baby Sensory ideas. Stay Tuned!