Using the earth as our own sensory wonderland

Using the earth as our own sensory wonderland

As Elijah has gotten older we have tried to incorporate sensory play into our day to day lives. We have started using the outdoors as our play ground more and using natural supplies for both learning and fun. We enjoy going for walks and collecting plants and pebbles for arts and crafts or play.

We enjoy going to the beach and playing with the rocks. We like to build towers with the pebbles, we like to practise writing in the sand with our fingers or sticks. We like to build sandcastles and to dig holes. We like to throw rocks as far as we can in the water. This is Elijah’s favourite activity. We do this all year long even in the winter. We like to collect pebbles to take home with us to paint and then hide on future walks.

On walks we like to gather flowers, we like to gather sticks and leafs. We use the leafs and flowers for arts and craft activities such as sticking them to paper and painting. We often collect pine cones and conkers and use them for sensory play or counting. We also use the conkers to paint with as well sometimes. I like to fill a bowl or tray with flowers and natural things and incorporate Elijah’s toys to them. For example i have often put flowers in water in a tray and filled with some paint so its coloured and got Elijah to explore it. I like to use elijahs tuff tray and pick a theme and add natural items to compliment the play. I.e if i was choosing woodland animals id find all his toys that relate to that so id choose bears, squirrels and deer toys and add sticks, leaves and pine cones.

I like to use water in play. I like to set up a car wash or animal washing stations where i fill bowl with washing up liquid and water and Elijah sits there with a cloth cleaning his toys for ages! We also have a water table which he adores and a sandpit in the garden. He also uses his water and sand table which i often replace the filling to sensory items instead. We like to freeze toys in water and i love to watch Elijah’s mind working trying to get toys out with spoons or by smashing on the ground. You can also freeze flowers also!

We like using sand pits to hide toys or practice scooping or playing with his diggers in. We like using a brush and looking for bigger dinosaurs in the sand. We like hiding toys like a easter egg hunt around the house or in the garden and looking for them and collecting them all up.

You can also give your child a patch of dirt to garden in where they can dig, water and rake. Get them to help watering plants with a watering can. Get them to help plant their plants and seeds. Artificial plants are great for the child who loves to over watering and it teaches them to care for their planet at the same time.

I sometimes use flashcards and books to teach at the same time. I like hiding things in the trays to and instructing him to look for them. He likes digging for dinosaurs in his sandpit and fishing for fish in water with his net. We also hide flowers amongst leaves and fake insects to find.

I really want to get a mud kitchen for the garden for Elijah as i know he’d love it! But i think i’ll wait till hes bored of his kitchen being indoors. Until then we like to use plastic bowls to make mud cakes using dirt and water or we make potions with flowers and water and a little bit of glitter. When hes older i will make perfumes with him like i did with my nan. We used to pick flowers grind them up and place in water to make perfumes. We also look for bugs with our magnifying glass.

I hope you enjoyed my little using nature for sensory play blog post. Comment if you would like more! stay safe, Charlie x

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Hi all as we reach day 2636526 in lock down we’ve been thinking of ways to keep our little one busy and thought why don’t we share those ideas with you. The lovely people at Hartley’s fruit gifted us lots of jelly to share with others what we get up to with jelly!

I know what your thinking jelly? That’s just for eating? Well yeah it’s for eating BUT you can also play with it. You can hide things in it and explore the texture as you try to fish bits out of it! SO if you’re looking for a cheep and easy activity then look no further!

All you need is jelly, you can buy Hartley’s jelly in most supermarkets and corner shops as well as online! Then you can get inventive. I like to set a theme today I used Elijahs little dinosaurs and we had a dinosaur theme. We have previously done jungle animals, the lion king theme and we’ve even used fruit too! If your child is still at age where everything is in the mouth I suggest bigger toys they can’t choke on or cut up fruit!

How to make: Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and when it’s starting to cool out the fruit or toys in. Then when it is completely cool put in the fridge to set for a few hours I suggest a minimum of three hours!

Now the fun part! Get it out and put some old clothes on and get ready to get messy! Get some tools out if you wish, I got a spoon but we’ve previously used whisks, chopsticks and lots more to squish into the jelly.

While your child plays talk to them while they explore. Talk to them about the texture and ask them questions. Ask if it’s squishy? Ask if it’s cold. Ask how it feels in their hands. Talk about how it is cold and how it is wobbly. Talk about what your using to get the toys/fruit out. Count how many objects you remove from the jelly and talk about if they’re sticky or not.

We enjoy getting bigger toys and splashing them in the jelly also! It’s a great play idea which you don’t have to worry about them eating the product!

We find this a super fun idea we play with other children when they come round and can’t wait to do more play with others after lockdown!

To clean up, once all the toys have been removed allow them to eat some jelly. If you’ve made to much save for later in the fridge. To finish just simply wash up as normal and add the toys and utensils to the washing up pile. Remove dirty clothes and wash hands it’s that simple.

Have fun and enjoy yourself! Let’s play with our food that little bit more! Thanks again to Hartley’s for supporting our play today! (The jelly used was gifted).

For more play ideas be sure to check my Instagram play idea highlights where I’ll be adding more as we play! Follow: @lifewiththehazelwoods and tag me and Hartley’s in any jelly play you do!

Thanks Charlie!