Messy Sensory Play is so much FUN!
Toddlers love exploring new objects through touching, putting things in their mouth, banging it, throwing it, moving it around. Sensory Play is a great way to entertain and allow your little one to learn!
That is why I made some fun Rainbow Foam for my 13-month-old to help him learn and explore a new texture and experience! For this activity, I had a pacifier handy in case he was wanting to put the foam in his mouth since it is bubbles. I didn't think he would like the taste of soap in his mouth so I was right there with him watching him and gave him the pacifier if he looked like he was going to put it in his mouth. If you feel like your little one would constantly put this in their mouth than maybe you should wait until they are a little older. You know your child best and you decide if you feel they can handle this activity.
How do you set it up?
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- Tearless Baby Shampoo
- Food coloring
- Container to put the rainbow foam inside, we used a large under bed storage container so that he could get inside if he wanted.
- We used our Ninja Food processor/blender to mix up the foam, but you could also use an electric hand mixer too
- We added in some foam letters or bath toys since we put the foam in the bath to make a colorful bath afterward!
Look at those little hands going through the rainbow foam 🙂
Here is a picture of what the rainbow foam looked like in our Ninja food processor.
What is the Goal with this Activity?
The goal with this rainbow foam is allowing the toddler to explore a fun texture and use their senses. They will learn about how the texture feels on their hands and body, what it smells like, how it moves across the surface, and how their own body moves when using the rainbow foam. There are a lot of ways you can incorporate different skills with sensory play.
You can focus on fine motor skills with using their hands, using paint brushes to move the rainbow foam, or even things like scoop and pour if you have containers for them to work on that. We love to use plastic bowls and measuring cups to work on scoop and pour! Nothing too fancy here!
You can also work on language skills by talking about what they are doing and giving them words for the textures and actions they may be experiencing.
What are they learning?
It looks like such a simple activity, but it is so much more! With this simple activity they are learning so many skills:
- Fine motor skills with working on using an isolated index finger to spread the rainbow foam on a surface
- Body Awareness with figuring out how their hands move to use the rainbow foam in the container or on the surface
- Hand-eye coordination to use the rainbow foam in a certain spot you tell them to (hopefully)…
- Attention span-concentrating on using the rainbow foam to explore
- Problem solving-figuring out how the rainbow foam feels, smells, and moves on the surface
- Language Development-talk with your child while doing the activity, place words with the actions that they are doing such as, “go up, or go down,” “this feels squishy”
- Following directions-they are following a simple direction to put the rainbow foam on the bathtub wall or in the container
- If you use paint brushes this can also work on crossing midline and coordination.
Just because an activity doesn't look like much, doesn't mean it isn't full of great learning opportunities!
How can I make this easier or harder for my child?
- If you have a child that is having a hard time using their hands to explore the rainbow foam, give them a utensil such as a paintbrush, or a kitchen utensil such as a spoon or spatula so they can explore it, but not to the extent of putting it on their body yet. Hopefully, with increased exposure, they will be more willing to use their hands to explore this texture.
- Model the behavior you want your toddler to complete. Show them what to do with the rainbow foam.
- Give them a large space to explore with the rainbow foam.
- Allow them to sit while doing the activity as standing can be more of a challenge for some.
- If you have a child that needs more of a challenge with this activity try these suggestions out!
- Use paintbrushes to work on spreading the foam to work on crossing midline and fine motor skills of holding onto the brush.
- Add fine motor manipulatives to the rainbow foam. If your child is older and you are not as worried about them putting things in their mouth you could try other small items such as foam shapes, fun erasers, beads, gems or pom poms to the rainbow foam for them to pick up.
- Give them simple directions to follow with the foam, such as paint up high, or paint down low.
- Slowly give them new objects or items to explore with the foam one at a time, (this can keep their interest in the activity longer)
- If you have an older child they could work on shape, letter, and number writing in the rainbow foam.
- You can always change up how they play with the rainbow foam
- Have them use their feet in the bathtub to explore the foam
- Put the rainbow foam inside a large bin for them to sit in and explore with
- Put the rainbow foam in a ziplock bag if you don't want it to get messy
- Make a rainbow bath by adding water and having a colorful bath time fun!