Paige has been LOVING sensory play lately, so I thought it would be fun to share the different ways we have used our new sensory tub for my very first blog post!
Let me start by saying that although I have always loved the idea of sensory tubs, I only ever used smaller containers with Paige and always had to do it outside as they made too much mess. BUT thanks to Susie at Busy Toddler, I bought an under the bed storage container which can be used to play in, as well as store everything when it’s not in use. Genius! (You can read her post on storing sensory tubs here, and a great post on introducing sensory bins to toddlers is here).
So right now, coloured rice is our sensory base of choice. I have seen rainbow rice all over Pinterest and Instagram for years but had never got around to making a big batch. But with a huge new tub ready to be filled, it seemed like the perfect excuse to make up a 2kg batch of coloured rice!
I gave Paige some of our favourite tools for scooping and transferring – empty bottles, spoon and cup measures and cupcake holders and invited her to explore.
I should have known better than to set it up inside as Paige has a tendency to use the bottles and cup measures OUTSIDE the tub.. no matter how many times I remind her to ‘keep it inside the box, Paige!’. So after a few minutes (and a few hundred grains of rice on the floor) we moved it outside.
To be honest, Paige wasn’t as interested in this for as long as I thought she was going to be, but I think that was because I happened to set up a different sensory activity for her baby brother and Paige is never one to want to miss out! But over the next few days, we used the rice in a few different ways, and she was much more engaged.
We went ‘fishing’ using a cute fishing set from Kmart, and then used the fishing rods to ‘catch’ our metal rimmed counters to sort into the different colours. This was by far Paige’s favourite way to use the rice this week!
Another bright and colourful idea is pom poms. Kmart and Big W usually have bags for a few dollars each. I set up the tub with tongs and scoops to help build hand strength and fine motor skills.
Paige always shows such an interest when I cook and bake, so taking inspiration from that, I gave her some flour, sugar and oats, with some bowls and mini utensils to ‘cook’ with. This has been Paige’s all-time favourite sensory tub yet. She used it for at least twenty minutes with me, and then another fifteen independently when I first set it up for her. She experimented mixing water with the dry ingredients on the third day, and needless to say, I had to bin it after that! But it was so much fun and definitely one we will try again!
The first sensory tub I ever gave Paige, just before her second birthday, was filled with coloured kidney beans. Paige played with them for hours on end. It was great! What wasn’t so great was the bean plants we had growing in our lawn a few weeks after. It seems that beans sold at the supermarket for eating still grow if you give them a chance! Oops!
We still use that batch of beans a year on, and I’ve since added some coloured lima beans which are a bit bigger.
We also have a couple of packets of plain lima beans which Paige has spent hours using with her cooking appliances, making me all sorts of yummy food!
Lastly, we have a big bag of bird seed, which has so many different coloured, shaped and sized seeds which makes it great for great sensory tubs! Paige mostly enjoyed standing inside the tub, stamping and jumping – just like Peppa!
I have an ever growing list of sensory materials I want to explore with Paige – starting with ice cubes on our next hot day, cornflour and water mix (– is it called goop??!) for an extra messy sensory experience, and 100s and 1000s which is probably my most favourite sensory tub idea I have ever seen!
What’s your favourite sensory tub material?