Friday, July 6, 2012

Sensory Bins and Cloud Dough

I've recently started putting together "sensory bins" for the kids. Sensory bins were a new idea to me as a first time Mom but the kids have been really enjoying them. To make a sensory bin you basically fill a container of some sort with something for the kids to explore with their senses. Pretty open-ended definition right? Well that is the point. Open-ended play. Exploration and creativity...the best kind of play!

So I've made three bins so far. After I make up a bin I put it out for the kids to play with a few times over the course of two weeks. Then we start a new one. Since it is so hot here we play with the bins inside. The contents are usually somewhat messy but I lay down a big sheet on the floor of the play room which, so far, has done a great job containing the mess.

The first bin I did was filled with wild bird seed. I bought a huge bag for around $5 and filled up a shallow plastic storage tote. The boys loved scooping and pouring the bird seed into different bowls and containers.

Playing inside the box was fun too!

Until the box got too crowded.

The next box I did was filled with Cloud Dough....this stuff is like a cross between sand and playdough. It looks and feels like sand but it is moldable like a dough. An indoor sandbox! The kids loved it. It is very simple to make, you just stir together two ingredients! Here's the recipe to make your own.

Cloud Dough 
8 cups flour
1 cup baby oil

Put the flour in a large container and pour the oil over it. Mix it together with your hands until it is well combined. (told you it was easy)

I actually doubled this recipe and used an entire 5lb bag of flour. With two kids playing together, I use a large shallow storage bin for my sensory bins. I have no idea how long this stuff will keep but, just like with the bird seed, when the two weeks are up I will move the cloud dough into a smaller container to store. Hopefully it will still be good to use when I rotate it out again sometime but if not, that's ok too.  It was a fun box and cheap and easy to make.

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