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Spring is one of the prettiest times of the year, in my opinion. It’s the transition from winter to summer. As Cheryl says in Miss Congeniality, “…because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!”
I love the warmer weather that comes with spring and the fact that you can begin to enjoy the sun a little and spend more time outdoors. However, we all know that spring doesn’t promise the end of the rainy season.
During spring, sometimes you have to come up with ways to keep your little one(s) entertained while you are cooped up indoors. I am all to familiar with this! My years of experience working in early childhood education and keeping a dozen toddlers locked up in a classroom all day due to rain have taught me new ways of being creative on the spot.
I believe I am well equipped with coming up with an idea on the spot. Unfortunately, there are days when my creative juices just aren’t flowin’ like they need to be. For times like that, I keep this little activity in my arsenal for locked in days with my 16 month old son!
For quick and easy fun, DIY your own sensory bag! This is a very versatile activity as you can make small or large bags and fill them with various items. For today’s budget friendly spring activity suggestion, I created paint sensory bags for my toddler.
What You Will Need
- Ziploc bags (size will depend on your preference)- We used snack size
- Non-toxic, child friendly paint (about 4 different colors should be enough)
- Baby oil (I ran out so we used some vegetable oil)
- Clear tape
How to Make Sensory Bags
The paint set that I purchased came with four different colors; red, yellow, green, and blue. I also used four snack sized Ziploc bags.
I squeezed equal parts yellow and blue paint into one bag and equal parts red and blue into a second bag. For the other two bags, I squeezed some green paint into one with about a tablespoon of oil and blue paint with a tablespoon of oil into the fourth bag.
I let out all the air from each bag and zipped them up. Then I placed each bag onto our large sliding glass door in our kitchen. I used clear scotch tape to tape all four sides of each bag so that the bags would stay put when my son used them.
The Toddler’s Participation
Once all the bags were taped to the door, I showed my son how to use the sensory bags.
For example; the bags with the two paints inside, I showed him how to mix the paints together to create a third color. For the bags with the oil and paints combined, I showed him how to mix those together as well and watch how the oil and paint reacted to one another.
Afterwards, my son got down and explored with the bags for a good 20-25 minutes straight. Now, this activity isn’t something that is going to occupy a toddler for a full day (because truthfully, what toddler can sit still for that long anyway?).
However, those 20-ish minutes gave me some time to get a few things done in the kitchen! He was occupied with a sensory/science/art activity while I was being productive. Win-win!
How Long Did the Bags Last?
Children in general are messy, but a toddler is messy on a whole other level! Because of my messy little marvin, I had to take down the bags after being up nearly two weeks.
Surprisingly, I didn’t have to take the bags down due to the bags ripping open or anything like that. Quite the opposite! I was surprised at how well they endured the usage they got and even at times with my son banging toys against them.
The reason for removing them was because they were being covered in food and all kinds of other (sometimes sticky) stuff that my toddler found. It’s amazing what this kid finds! Basically, the bags started looking really gross on the outside from my toddler’s messiness!
These sensory bags came to be because of a rainy day and my toddler becoming stir crazy. I quickly thought of what items we had in the house to make this happen and it turned out to be a pretty great activity that continued even on sunny days for him. It was a nice outlet to have to enjoy exploring.
Other ways you could make sensory bags include adding some sparkles inside for an extra pizzazz! If you purchase larger gallon Ziploc bags, you could even add some small animal figurines with oil, paints, and glitter and make it a sort of ocean themed “find the hidden animals” activity. Just some thoughts! There are many more ideas others have come up with, I am sure.
For us, my son is only 16 months old so he doesn’t need the extras. At times, the simpler the better goes a long way for him. He uses his imagination for the rest! However, older children would probably need more to keep their attention longer.
What Ideas Do You Have for Sensory Bags?
How else would you make a sensory bag? What other items would you include? As simplistic as these sensory bags I made might sound, I wonder what other options are available for young toddlers like my son?
I would grately appreciate any ideas you have so that we can try them out! Leave them in the comments below. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!