Recipes For
Sensory Materials

 

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.

 

 

Recipe Index
 

Kool-Aid Playdough Recipe
 

Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough
 

The Very Best
     Cooked Playdough Recipe
 

Baker's Clay
 

Cornstarch & Baking Powder
     Modeling Dough

 

White Bread & Glue Craft Dough


  Jiggle Blob (With Knox Gelatin)
 

Fun With Jello Jigglers

Gak  (a.k.a Cornstarch & Water Goop)
 

Clean "Mud"  (With Ivory Soap)
 

Snow  (With Ivory Snow Detergent)
 

Shaving Cream Fun!
 

  Flubber  (With Glue & Borax)

 

Edible Fingerpaints
 

Rainbow Stew

 

 

 

 

Gak
(Also called "Goop")
 

 

Materials Needed

4 parts cornstarch (see baking supplies dept. of supermarket)
1 part water
(Can add coloring.)

 

What To Do

Add water gradually to cornstarch. Stir with fingers.

 

Gak Play:

This 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.

The Gak 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.

Adding a 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.

A great 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.

 

 

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Clean Mud
(Borrowed from Annie Castle Deckert)

 

Ingredients:

3 bars of Ivory Soap, grated
1 to 2 rolls Toilet Paper
Hot water (not scalding!)

What To Do:

Older children can help grate the soap, but even toddlers will enjoy helping tear up the toilet paper to add to this mix.

 Put 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 "Cool Whip".

 

Play:

This is 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!

Preschool age children and older might enjoy trying to shape things out of the "mud".

After (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?

And if you dare: ask kids why they suppose good quality toilet paper is made to be so absorbent!

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Snow
(From Annie Castle Deckert)

 

 

Ingredients:

Ivory Snow (laundry soap) powder
Water

 What To Do:

Place Ivory Snow in a mixing bowl and begin to gradually add a little water -- stir with electric mixer for several minutes until mixture resembles soft fluffy snow.

Play:

Use for finger painting, brush painting, or spatula painting.  (Caution students not to rub soapy fingers near eyes. Not suitable for young toddlers.)

 

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Shaving Cream Fun

Idea #1

 

 

 Ingredients:

Mild, inexpensive shaving cream

liquid watercolor, powdered tempra paint, or food coloring

Large 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.

Play:

Encourage 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!

A great 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!

 

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Shaving Cream Fun
Idea #2
(Borrowed from Teacher Kerry
at Milpitas Parent's Preschool)

 

Ingredients:

Mild, inexpensive shaving cream

starch-based packing "peanuts"

warm and cold water

a camera (to record how the kids looked after)

 

What To Do:

Gather some large bowls or dish tubs. Fill the bowls with varying amounts of the above ingredients.

For 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.

 

Play:

Allow the 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.?

Provide 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 peanuts dissolving.

 

NOTE: be prepared with towels for clean-up, and don't be surprised when the shaving cream ends up on arms, elbows, and chins!

 

 

 

 

 

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