Since LP has been dropping from one nap to two, the afternoons seem to have grown a little bit longer. It’s tricky to find ways to keep him entertained in the house and mama doesn’t always have the energy for running around the children’s play area in the park. Even though he’s still really little I prefer to try and do something a bit more creative with him. But when it feels like I’m constantly on my feet, the last thing I want to do is something that involves making edible fingerpaints on the cooker or going out to buy tricky project ingredients (hello, Pinterest!)
This ridiculously easy sensory activity is great for toddlers and older babies and uses up ingredients that you have in the cupboard. It kept LP interested for 30-40 minutes. Moreover, it kept him in one place for 30-40 minutes, meaning I had time to drink a cup of tea. Win, win, win, win,win.
I have always been a fan of Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense and kids love experimenting with different textures to learn about the world and how it works.
Texture Box Sensory Activity for Toddlers
- A large, plastic storage tub – I used a cake box
- A bag of porridge oats
- Hundreds and thousands / edible cake decorations
- Measuring jugs, cups, funnel toy gardening fork – anything that can be used to move and manipulate the oats
- Floor covering – in our case, a sheet that we use when we are painting
Maybe mama made the oats too delicious
LP adored this and could hardly seem to believe his luck at the mess I was allowing him to make. But mess is the whole point!
He dove in, digging and rooting through the oats, picking them up, examining them one by one and pouring them through his fingers onto the floor. I helped to demonstrate the different material properties by burying small toys for us to find and “rescue”, pouring the oats from container to container, through a funnel and drawing lines in them. There was plenty of excited squealing and rummaging.
Since babies and toddlers love to find out about things using their mouths and sense of taste, it was important to use a safe, food item like oats. LP is still very keen to put interesting, new things in his mouth. The only slight issue came when LP realised that the coloured bits and pieces were lovely and sweet. Towards the end of the activity, his focus zeroed in on using the plastic gardening fork to spoon oats into his mouth and sorting through the oats to find the cake toppers… Whilst I think this was probably good practice for developing dexterity, maybe I will leave those out next time. If you are not very relaxed about a little sugar, maybe you should too. Although they did add a bit of colour to the game.
We both had fun, so much so that our furry friend, the cat, Bones, came to check out the kerfuffle:
Cats like sensory play too
I’m sure LP learned a lot from this, but if you’re thinking of giving it a go, here are my other take-aways:
- Oats go everywhere! Be prepared to vaccuum a couple of times afterwards if you are doing this indoors
- Oats make a lot of dust, so don’t wear clothes you are planning to go out in afterwards
- Avoid adding sweets to the oats, to minimize munching. Expect some taste-testing though
- Don’t place the box on a toddler-height surface and turn around to clean the floor. The toddler will empty the box on the floor (near-miss for us)
- You can try this with other fillings – cooked pasta, spaghetti (worms!), jelly, play dough… I’m planning on doing a frozen-jelly one in the summer (think I might have seen that at the Imagination Tree) and once I’ve found some good variations I’ll let you know
Thanks for reading and, as always, if you enjoyed, please leave a comment or share on social!