Ocean Sensory Play Bath

ocean sensory play bath

This was a wonderful activity – so easy to set up and so much fun for the girls!

I incorporated this into Letter O Day.  (I know, I know:  I’m a little behind in posting all of the Alphabet Activities and their free printables, but I’m getting there…)  It’s an activity that I found on Pinterest, originally from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

The girls have always loved sensory bins where they search for small toys in a little tray or bowl, but I loved the idea of allowing them to immerse themselves in a giant sensory bin!

I made it in much the same way as my inspiration, with just a small change:  I didn’t add food coloring to the water.  I didn’t think it was necessary, and, as the bath went on, a little of the food coloring seeped from the noodles and colored the bathwater anyway.

ocean sensory play bath

As you can see, in the above photo, I started with plain bathwater.  I threw in the noodles, spread them around, tossed in a few ocean-themed toys, and let the girls climb in.

To make the noodles, I took 3 pounds of spaghetti and cooked it in two pots.  One pound went in one pot, with quite a few drops of green food coloring, to make the “seaweed,” and the other two pounds went into the other pot, with a LOT of blue food coloring, to make the “water.”  Or “blue seaweed,” or “coral” or “algae.”  Whatever.

After cooking the spaghetti, I rinsed it off in a colander in the sink to get rid of excess food coloring.  I didn’t want to turn my girls blue, after all.

ocean sensory play bath

After spreading around the spaghetti, we threw in their ocean animal squirt toys and a handful of mermaids.  It wasn’t a ton of toys, but it was enough.

They mostly played with the noodles, anyway.

ocean sensory play bath

Before climbing in, the girls stood outside the tub, feeling the spaghetti with their hands, then gently dipping in their toes.  Lots of giggles.

Then they jumped right in.

They held the spaghetti in their hands, wiggled it between their toes, “wrote” on the sides of the tub with it, and dumped handfuls on each other’s heads.

ocean sensory play bath

We made all kinds of shapes out of the spaghetti on the tub sides and on the tile wall.  My 20-month-old did a lot of swirling and slow movements with her hands and feet in the noodles.  My 3-year-old made patterns on the edge of the tub for her mermaids to sit in.  She concentrated pretty hard on her projects.  But even with all that focus, there was so much laughter and endless smiles.

They even helped me dump the spaghetti into a plastic bin before draining the tub.  They thought it was fun to use the little metal colanders with handles to help scoop it all up.

And, afterwards, the girls got a good scrub, and I made sure to dump some baking soda and white vinegar down the drain, because some noodles did escape me.

Overall, a great, great project.  So much fun!

It’s been requested multiple times, although I may do it in a little blow-up pool next time.  Kinda like our blustery day water play.  We’ll see.  :)

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DIY Dry Erase Books for Kids

DIY dry erase books for kids

I’ve seen a few versions of this around the web, and I decided to make my own.

I picked up a couple of $1 flexible photo albums/brag books at Walmart and some dry erase markers.  My girls love markers, but, even though these things wipe right off the book pages, they do not wash easily from clothing and carpets.  So, the next time I’m at the store, I’m going to be looking for some dry erase crayons.

Anyway, the books themselves were a big hit with my girls.  My 18-month-old pretty much just scribbles over the pages, but, because even at these young ages they both have to have exactly the same things, I made the same pages for both her and my 3-year-old.

The only difference was the first page, on which I drew their names in dashed lines to make them easy to trace.  My 3-year-old LOVES this.

Then I created pages that had other activities, like mazes, lines to trace, and coloring pages that included learning opportunities, like shapes and counting.

I cut plain white computer paper into 4″ x 6″ and slipped them into the pages of the photo album.  The first 5 pages had activities, but then I filled the rest of the book with blank pages, so they could draw whatever they wanted on those pages.  In the future, I’ll probably add more pages of activities.

When the girls use them, I provide a paper towel for them to wipe clean the pages, but you could also use a small sponge or an eraser made for dry-erase markers.