July 18, 2013

Sensory Materials for Summer Fun

Summer Fun Sensory Activities

Our 10 favorite sensory materials for summer fun as well as many ways to use them.  Make this the best summer ever!

Summer is in full swing, and we are soaking up every minute of summer fun that we can!  We enjoy sensory activities year round, but there are a few sensory materials we use most during the summer months when the sun is shining and our days are spent outdoors.  I love the ability to hose everything off after messy play, including my boys!

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Water beads are enjoyable year round.  Since they are a wet sensory activity they are especially great for summer fun! 
  • Water Beads Sensory Bin - Our first experience with water beads.
  • Frozen Water Beads - Pop hydrated water beads in the freezer for a sensory activity to beat the heat.  What do you think happens to the water beads when they defrost?
  • Water Beads in the Play Pool - Water beads in water provide new sensory play.  In the play pool you can "swim" with water beads for full body sensory play.
  • Edible "Water" Beads - Since water beads should not be ingested, here is an edible version  from Blog Me Mom that is baby and toddler safe!
Well Cooked beads

Like water beads, we have a good time with shaving cream any time of year.  However, in the summer heat shaving cream sensory play can be experienced from head to toe and then rinsed off with a quick run through the sprinklers.

  • Outdoor Shaving Cream Pool - The perfect activity for summer fun!  Kids can get covered in shaving cream then rinse off with a hose.

3.  Water
I know, it seems so obvious.  Of course water is a favorite for summer fun.  It is so simple and yet wonderful for sensory play.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy water play beyond swimming and running through the sprinklers.

  • Colored Ice in the Play Pool - Add a bit of color to water and freeze it to enjoy on a hot summer day.
  • Ice Bowling - This is one of my very favorite summer games.  It combines gross motor skills with sensory play and makes for great family time.
  • Rainbow Ice Sensory Bin - Make colorful ice in every shade of the rainbow.
  • Watercolor Ice Art - Create gorgeous art and watch colors blend together with frozen watercolors.  A creative way to stay cool.
4.  Kool Aid
My kids have never had a single sip of Kool Aid, but they love to play with it!  Kool Aid is such an inexpensive ingredient to add to play, and it makes even the most simple activities multisensory, adding an amazing aroma to sensory materials.

  • Kool Aid Play Date - We invited our play group over for a Kool Aid themed play date with ideas including Kool Aid and shaving cream, Kool Aid watercolors, Kool Aid bubbles, and Kool Aid eruptions without vinegar.
  • Erupting Alphabet - Fight summer slide with some letter and sound practice that erupts!
  • Kool Aid Puffy Paint - What kid doesn't love to create with puffy paint?  By using Kool Aid to color homemade puffy paint, this art experience smells delightful.

  • Eruptions with Kool Aid and Paint - This amazing experiment is a must try for kids of all ages.  Who knew this would happen wtih just Kool Aid and paint?
  • Kool Aid Sidewalk Chalk Paint - Sidewalk chalk paint is so cool!  These scented sidewalk chalk paints make outdoor art even more fun.
  • Giant Kool Aid Eruptions - Make vinegar free eruptions with Kool Aid and baking soda.
  • Kool Aid Finger Paint - Beware if you make this paint you will want to dig in and paint right alongside your kids.  You might even want a taste...

  • Kool Aid Playdough - Make a variety of scented playdough by adding a packet of Kool Aid.  Our lemon playdough is still going strong and getting played with more days than not.
  • Kool Aid and Shaving Cream - Add several packets of Kool Aid to shaving cream to create the most gorgeous and best smelling shaving cream ever.
  • Kool Aid Ice - Ice is an easy and frugal sensory material.  Add some Kool Aid to make ice colorful and scented!
  • Rainbow Eruptions - Make beautiful, vinegar free eruptions with Kool Aid.
Make beautiful rainbow eruptions with baking soda and vinegar - exciting for kids and grown ups alike!

5.  Balloons
What child doesn't love balloons?  There are countless ways to play with balloons, and of course simple water balloons are at the top of that list.

  • Gross Motor Balloon Games - Simple experiments with balloons including my personal favorite, vinegar filled balloons tossed into a pool of baking soda!
  • Water Balloon and Pool Play - Add water balloons to the play pool for a splashing good time.
  • Colored Water Filled Balloons - For even more fun fill the water balloons with colored water before popping them in the play pool.  Watch the colors mix and blend in the water, then splash and swim in a colored filled pool.

6.  Sand
One word:  sandbox.  Sand is a wonderful sensory material.  Kids can scoop, dump, pour, let it run through their fingers and toes, dig, build castles and so much more!  Tip:  Use cornstarch to remove sand without scratching skin.

  • Dinosaur Fossils - Excavate dinosaurs with this fun activity from Coffee Cups and Crayons.
7.  Jello
Like Kool Aid Jello makes for extraordinary sensory play.

  • Rainbow Jello Sensory Bin - Cook up a few batches of jello then toss them in a sensory bin and let littles ones explore freely.
Fizzing Gelatin from Fun at Home with Kids
8. Chalk
One of the least expensive art and sensory mediums for summer is sidewalk chalk.  Learn, play and create with this simple material.

Crushed chalk - a great way to use up broken chalk bits - perfect for art and play recipes

A brand NEW  two ingredient recipe for sidewalk chalk paint that is easy to spread and dries in bright and vibrant shades!  CORNSTARCH FREE

9. Cornstarch
Many of our favorite recipes for play contain cornstarch.  Cornstarch is inexpensive and versatile.  Here are a few of our favorite ways to use it:

How to make erupting ice chalk paint - summer recipe for play!

10. Bubbles
A summer sensory list wouldn't be complete without bubbles!  Bubbles are a childhood favorite, and I am amazed at how many ways there are to play.

  • Bubble Pool - Fill the play pool with bubble bath to entertain your baby like Plain Vanilla Mom.
  • Bubble Painting - Make bubble prints like Housing a Forest.
  • Colored Bubbles - Color bubbles for added fun.
For more summer fun sensory activities follow me on Pinterest.

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The 10 best sensory materials for summer fun and many ways to use them.

What is your favorite sensory material for summer fun?

1 comment:

  1. Allison, thank you very much for including us in this fab round up!


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