Here is an index of our favorite recipes for
squishy, gooey sensory play, collected over the years. Get ready
to have fun and get messy! Remember that part of making play with
these materials fun is planning ahead so that clean up is not a chore.
Don't make these projects in carpeted areas or near upholstered
furniture. Wear old clothes. And you might want to lay down
some old newspapers ahead of time (in some cases, even on the floor).
Please note that some of the materials recipes can be used in craft
projects, while others are purely for play.
cornstarch (see baking supplies dept. of supermarket)
1 part water
(Can add coloring.)
What To Do
gradually to cornstarch. Stir with fingers.
mixture is great fun for those children who love to play in the mud
-- but it avoids the filth factor! The "Gak" will provide a
variety of interesting textures and consistencies. It will be solid
and chalky in some places, runny and oozy in others.
is great fun on its own. But to extend play (or enliven it on another
day), you might add big mixing spoons, a sieve or sifter, little cups
or dishes, measuring utensils, or washable plastic toys.
little food coloring or Liquid Watercolor to the Gak and allowing
children to mix it in is another great way to extend play. Do two
colors and turn it into a "science" experiment about color mixing.
feature of this material is that, when the little spills on floor and
table top dry, you just sweep them up. Teacher Annie tells me that
you can save your tub of Gak, and that when it dries out, you can
simply add more water! Very economical this way.
3 bars of
Ivory Soap, grated 1 to 2
rolls Toilet Paper Hot water
What To Do:
children can help grate the soap, but even toddlers will enjoy
helping tear up the toilet paper to add to this mix.
the soap and t. paper into a large mixing bowl or dish tub. Gradually
add a little hot water, and mix with the hands. Continue to add small
amounts of water, until a nice "muddy" consistency is
obtained. Annie notes that it should have the consistency of
another great squish and squeeze activity. Fun anytime, but a nice
hand warmer for a cold day. Encourage the children to talk about what
they feel. Supply missing vocabulary if needed. These activities are
great language building opportunities, and a good way to build neural
connections between different parts of the brain!
age children and older might enjoy trying to shape things out of the "mud".
(school age) children have had the basic experience, turn the
activity into science by experimenting with different brands, plies,
or types of toilet paper -- or other papers. See what you notice! Do
they all absorb or mix in the same way? What happens? What is different?
you dare: ask kids why they suppose good quality toilet paper is made
to be so absorbent!
watercolor, powdered tempra paint, or food coloring
sheet of paper ("butcher" paper is great)
What To Do:
Lay out a
large sheet of paper (the more of your table you cover, the better).
Shake up the shaving cream can, then squirt out a generous mound onto
the table. Add a little of the watercolor, tempra, or food coloring.
the child to "finger paint" with this mixture. It is great
fun to see the shaving cream change color and go through varying
shades. Add two primary colors and let the child discover color mixing!
picture may or may not result from this project -- but it is
certainly fun. And all the sensory awareness is promoting brain
development. Get your child to talk about what he or she is
experiencing and you will not only promote language development, but
help your child integrate different parts of the brain!
Fun Idea #2
at Milpitas Parent's Preschool)
inexpensive shaving cream
(to record how the kids looked after)
What To Do:
some large bowls or dish tubs. Fill the bowls with varying amounts of
the above ingredients.
example: fill one bowl with shaving cream and peanuts but no water.
Fill another bowl with a little cold water, plus shaving cream and
peanuts. Fill another with lots of warm water, plus shaving cream and
peanuts. Another could have just shaving cream and water.
children to feel around in the different bowls or tubs. Ask them how
it feels -- is it cold, wet, smooth, sticky, creamy, warm, lumpy, etc.?
extra peanuts for the children to add in, to change the mixture
("How is it now?"). Ask them to compare the different
mixtures -- how are they alike or different. See if they notice the
prepared with towels for clean-up, and don't be surprised when the
shaving cream ends up on arms, elbows, and chins!