Sensory Play

Shaving Cream Marbled Valentines

This is such a fun, festive way to create beautiful Valentine's Day cards and decorations.  You'll tap into so many senses when you shake the shaving cream bottle and feel the weight shift in your hands, push the top and hear the shaving cream come out, see the cream expand on your tray, and smell that wonderful shaving cream scent.  And that's before you even get those hands into the cream to spread it around and touch, smoosh, squeeze it!

1.  Spread shaving cream on a plate or tray.

2.  Add a couple of drops of liquid watercolors or small spoonfuls of washable paint to the cream.

3.  Use a popsicle stick or toothpick or butter knife to gently swirl the colors into the cream.

4.  Take a piece of stock paper or cardboard and lay it on top of the colorful cream.  Press gently into the cream.

5.  Pull up the paper and use a popsicle stick, squeegee, lid or another piece of cardboard to scrape the excess cream off.

6.  Use your paper to make beautiful Valentine's Day cards and decorations and then share the LOVE!

BEST Homemade Play Dough Recipe

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Homemade play dough is truly is soft and smooth and just the right texture for all your creations.  You can store home made play dough in an air tight container or bag for weeks on end.  And best of all, you can get creative and make changes to your own version of homemade play dough by adding different colors, glitter, and scents.  Create an invitation to play with the dough by setting up a tray with options like beads, buttons, pipe cleaners, etc.!  Go crazy and enjoy this recipe.

1 cup sifted plain flour

1/2 cup salt

2 Tablespoons cream of tartar

2 Tablespoons oil of your choice

1 cup water

your choice of food coloring

Mix all the ingredients together in a pot.  Place on the the stove over medium-high heat.  Stir constantly until it thickens and forms a ball.  Remove from heat.  Let it cool until you are able to handle it.  Knead for several minutes.  

If you are adding glitter, do this during the kneading process.



Gingerbread Cookie Decorating

We loved nibbling on this dough and decorating the baked gingerbread cookies in our PLAY! With Your Food, Holiday Edition 2017 event. The allergy friendly ingredients allow all kids to get involved and enjoy in the play. These would be great to make for a playdate, or to bring to your child's class! 


The recipe to make these yummy gingerbread people is found here, on our food recipe page.  Remember, you can freeze them, so don't be afraid to make a lot!  On those cold winter weekends when the family wants to stay inside, just pull them out, and enjoy an entertaining, hands on activity...and sweet treat!

Developmental Play Notes:

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These gingerbread cookies are a great way all children can enjoy the fun of decorating cookies, without the need for a separate treat due of allergy restrictions.  Moving your body increases language, so as your child is stirring, rolling, cutting, and designing, this is a great time to get the conversation going!  Try to narrate what your child is doing, and share what you notice.  Remember there is no wrong way to decorate a gingerbread man, or woman! 

A few play examples:

  • Stirring the batter, rolling the dough, and transferring the cookies to the baking sheet build motor skills.  Explore toppings of different sizes and textures, sharing observations with your child as you decorate. 
  • Take a moment to let your child smell a few of the spices individually.  Ask him which one he likes the best, comment on the differences in the smells between cinnamon and nutmeg for example.  Perhaps share a story of what these smells remind you of. 
  • Let your child know it's OK to get messy! Comment on what occurred without judgement. "Wow you squeezed so hard, ALL the icing came out at once! That gingerbread man is covered!  I bet a lot of toppings can stick to him now. Let's see!"
  • Build on your child's sense of "theory of mind" (ability to understand things from someone else's perspective).  Have your child decorate a cookie for each member of the family, a friend, or maybe even a book or TV character! "What do you think Daddy would like on his cookie?" Give your child a moment to create, and if he's stumped, lead with a few examples: "Well, I know I LOVE the color red, so I'm going to put red sprinkles on MY cookie...What is your Dad's favorite color?" or "I see you put candy canes on your gingerbread man. Do you think your friend Susan would want candy canes on her cookie?" or "If we could give a cookie to Bugs Bunny, he might want to see a carrot on it, because he loves carrots! What does your sister love? Let's draw that on the cookie!" 

Let us know if you played!