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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Blustery Day Water Play

Blustery Day Water Play

Some days it’s just too cold and windy and blustery to play outside.

But we needed something to keep busy, and we’d already blown up the small pool the night before when we didn’t realize the sun wouldn’t be showing it’s face today.

So:  water play.

We moved the pool indoors to the dining room.  I filled two large plastic bowls with water, and placed them inside the pool.  Then collected as many measuring cups and spoons and general gadgets (whisks, funnels, mesh strainers) as I could find, and tossed them in the pool, too.

Then, I let the girls have at it.

Blustery Day Water Play

Blustery Day Water Play

Blustery Day Water Play

It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

I had to refill the large bowls a couple of times since most of the water ended up in the bottom of the pool anyway, but that’s the reason I had them wear swimsuits.

I kept towels nearby to clean up spills that splashed onto the dining room floor and also to wrap them in when they’d had enough.  But they spent so much time measuring and scooping and experimenting with the water to make setting it all up more than worthwhile.  We’ll be doing this again.

This activity can also easily be done in the bathtub if you don’t have a little, blow-up or plastic pool.  Or, if it’s a nice day outside, them you can just provide the bowls and tools spread out across the grass or a patio.

Either way, a fun yet educational (and basically free) way to keep your little ones entertained!