Halloween Sensory Bath

Halloween Sensory Bath {RoamingRosie.com}

I wanted to do something special for Halloween, and settled on a sensory bath with orange, green, and purple noodles that would be mixed with black, creepy toys.

It was a hit.  But then, I knew it would be.

How could kids NOT love a sensory bin that you let them climb inside of?

Earlier this year we did an Ocean Sensory Play Bath.  My girls really enjoyed it and requested it again and again.

But this time we did a “creepy” version.

Seemed a good way to get into the Halloween spirit.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

I had the food coloring on hand, but the rest of the supplies I picked up at the dollar store.

You’ll need:

4 lbs. of spaghetti
Food coloring in orange, green, and purple
Various toy bugs

I got a package of 8 rubbery mice, 8 rubbery spiders, and a dozen plastic centipedes.

I thought about sticking with the traditional colors of orange and black, but eventually decided to throw in the green and purple, too.  They added a nice dimension to it.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

You need to cook the spaghetti ahead of time, but it can sit for awhile.  This is helpful, for example, if you want to take care of this part while your kids are sleeping or at school.

I put most of the 4 lbs. into one large pot with a big scoop of orange food color.  Then I put green and purple into two smaller pots with smaller amounts of spaghetti.

I cooked them according to the package directions, then took the pots off the heat and allowed the noodles to sit in the colored water for 20 or 30 minutes.

You could also cook all the noodles in one big pot and then separate them into plastic baggies.  You can add the food color to the baggies and mix it all around to dye the noodles this way.

Sometimes I have issues with that method, so I used the dye-them-on-the-stove technique.  It takes very little time to wash the pots afterwards, and if you don’t have that many pots, you can always reuse the same one or make fewer colors.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

Once you’re ready to drain the pasta, make sure you rinse the noodles with cool water, too.

Rinse until the water that’s draining from the bottom of the colander runs clear.

Some of the food color that is in the spaghetti will still leak into the tub as the noodles steep, but rinsing helps eliminate as much color as possible beforehand.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

Here is a photo of the dyes spaghetti in one big bucket and all the creepy, crawly critters in a little dish.

I put these on the bathroom counter until we were ready to play.

As I mentioned, the spaghetti can sit for awhile.  We waited at least an hour, because my youngest was still napping.

And if you don’t have a bathtub {or just can’t imagine putting food in your tub}, you could always use something else.  For example, a kiddie pool.  Or, if you don’t want your kids sitting in the spaghetti, you could put it in a water table or large plastic bin instead, and let them play with it that way.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

Fill up the tub with just a few inches of water.

Then dump in the spaghetti and any toys.  Here you can see me and my daughter tossing in all the creepy vermin.

Swirl everything together with your hand or a small strainer.

We used the small mesh strainers to clean up afterwards, but also to play.  The girls used them to scoop up the toys.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

The orange faded from the spaghetti rather quickly.

Next time I would use more color and perhaps let it sit a little longer, since orange is such a light color.

And, as you can see, the green and purple did seep into the bathwater.  This makes it even creepier, though, and more of a challenge to find all the toys.  So not a total negative.

Plus, in case you’re wondering, my kids did not turn green and purple.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

To clean up, we took out all the toys and scooped all of the noodles back into the bin.

We used both our hands and the mesh strainers to remove the pasta.  My kids have nearly as much fun with this part as they do with playing in the spaghetti.

Once all {or as much as I can find} of the noodles are out of the tub, I drain the water.  Then I make sure there’s no food coloring left in the tub and my kids get a real bath.

When the bath is over, I sprinkle a bunch of baking soda over the drain and rinse it down with white vinegar.  {This is my normal method of cleaning bathtub/sink drains.}  It is inevitable that some noodles will escape down the drain, and certainly some starch, so this extra step is important.

Have fun!

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Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

I came up with this recipe because my 4yo was asking to make play dough and I’d just found an extra lemon hanging out in our kitchen.

So:  lemon scented play dough.

Because scented sensory play is fun for everyone, including moms.

Seriously.  I love playing with this stuff.

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Anyway, the ingredients are pretty basic.

And it’s easy to put together – you just throw everything in a pot:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Then you keep stirring it over medium heat until it looks like this:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

And then you knead it to make it smooth.

As you can see in the blurry photo below, my daughter was already grabbing pieces of it to play with before I had a chance to knead it.  :)

Just be careful, because it will be hot.  I kinda like digging my hands into the warm dough, tho.

Lemon Scented Play Dough

My girls like to roll it out and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, or cut it using a small angled spatula.

Here are a few pics of them playing with the deliciously scented dough:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Oh – and playing with it on their easy-to-clean Jake placemats, of course!

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Ingredients:

1 cup lemon juice (or water added to squeezed lemon juice to equal 1 cup)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
Zest from one lemon
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. lemon extract
Yellow food coloring

Begin by zesting and juicing one lemon.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a glass measuring cup. If it is less than one cup, add water until it reaches the 1 cup line.

Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, adding enough food coloring to reach your desired color.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together into a ball.

Remove from heat and knead until smooth.

Store covered.  Will keep for about two weeks.

[Note: even though all of the ingredients are technically edible, please don’t let your kids ingest this. Also, if your child is going to help with the kneading, please remember that the dough will still be hot when you first remove it from the pan. If stored in a sealed container, this will last many months.]

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To print the free PDF of this recipe, click here:

Lemon Scented Play Dough

Happy Crafting!

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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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Make Your Own Snow

make your own play snow

Some of our friends had six feet of snow in their backyards during the polar vortex.

Here in Florida, we experienced a gentle misting of ice coating our cars and grass.  Good for me (I didn’t have to abandon my flip flops) but bad for my preschooler, who still remembers romping through the snow during our vacation last winter.

Solution:  make our own snow.

I found the Erupting Snow Recipe at Growing a Jeweled Rose, and I thought it looked like a great idea:  realistic play snow and a science experiment, too!

make your own play snow

It was super simple to make, since it has only two ingredients.  My daughter even helped me mix it.

make your own play snow

You just empty some baking soda into a container (we used an old Tupperware) and mix in some shaving cream until you reach a consistency where it will form snow balls that don’t fall apart.

We used two small boxes of baking soda and what I believe was most of a can of shaving cream.

We mixed it with our hands, which is why my hand looks coated in the stuff in the top photo, but once it’s mixed, it doesn’t stick to your hand too much.

make your own play snow

And we played with it on a disposable, plastic tablecloth, to contain the mess.  And just vacuumed up any that spilled on the carpet.

Oh, and, incidentally, the girls decided that it was best to play in the snow while wearing their dress-up outfits.  Just in case you were wondering about the frilly sleeves and skirts.  :)

make your own play snow

The snow is great for sensory play.  My daughters both loved sinking their hands into it…

make your own play snow

… and their feet.

make your own play snow

And when they were tired of playing with it, I put the cover on the Tupperware and we set it aside for a few days.

Then we pulled it out again to perform our “science experiment.”

Since I often use baking soda and vinegar to clean my house, my girls had seen the fizzle they produce.  But now they were going to use their snow to create it.

make your own play snow

We made little snow balls, using our melon baller to measure them out, and then tossed them into a vat of white vinegar:

make your own play snow

*fizzle, fizzle, bubble, pop*

make your own play snow

It was a lot of fun, and a great way to incorporate discussions of the seasons into our sensory play.

And if you’re looking for more winter activities, you could try out our Crystal Snowmen!

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Exporation Bottles for Sensory Play

Oh, how babies love noise!

Big noises, little noises, repetitive noises…

So, kids make noise.   As mothers, this is something we know.  It’s also something we come to love (sometimes).

What I guess I’m trying to say is, sometimes we can make it fun.  For instance, I made these “exploration bottles” for my girls a little while back, but never got around to posting about them.  And, not only did my youngest daughter love them (who was probably about 8-months-old at the time), but her big sister (2 years her senior), loved them, too.

exploration bottles

exploration bottles 2

They’re kind of musical in a way, especially since there are so many options when it comes to filling them.  I used some two kinds of beads and some pom poms – all from the dollar store.  I put them in dried out water bottles in the 16 oz. and 8 oz. sizes.  I also added a little hot glue to the caps (after the photo was taken) to make sure that the contents wouldn’t end up in my daughter’s mouth.  Like everything else she gets her hands on.

I’ve also seen them done where you fill them with water, so the kids can watch the stuff float around.  I like what I did, because each bottle made a different sound when you shook it.  And yes, even the pom pom bottle made a sound, just a very light and swooshy one.  It’s great for comparison, especially with my older daughter.

Have you done something similar?  Let me know!