Spring Sensory Activities – part 2 Rainbows

Rainbows – beautiful and magical natural phenomena.  In early years they are very popular, the strong colours support early learning of primary and secondary colours, pattern, sequence, blending, they are visually striking and appealing and seem to make everything look better!

Rainbows have always featured heavily in sensory play, nature has a way of incorporating the complimentary colours of a rainbow so beautifully, really its makes our job easier!  You just need to look at a bunch of flowers, or a bowl of fruit to realise that colour is everywhere, so lets take advantage of it!

During sensory workshops we aim to provide resources that are safe in each and every way, so that children may handle and even mouth them if they so wish – many of the children attending the sessions were of an age or developmental stage that mouthing objects was a key component of their sensory play.  To accommodate this, it was important to provide materials that were made of natural materials (wood etc) where possible and to use taste safe resources – below are some examples of how to incorporate rainbows into your child’s play that is safe, stimulating and striking! 

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Here are my 3 little sensory sensations, all ready for session #2 of the day.  As you can see there are 6 pastel shades of dyed rice (how to in a later post), needless to say it did not take long for the blocks of colour to become a kaleidoscopic blend of colours – as can be seen from the rice at the top of the tray that was salvaged from session #1!  Continue reading

Exploring Sensory Dough

When Educare Create was still an idea over coffee and lots of jotted notes on scraps of paper I knew that Sensory Dough would feature prominently – mainly because of the many documented therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy – combined with the wonder that is playdough I knew it was important to include in my baseline products.

I started with lavender, camomile, and mint doughs.

Wanting to maintain integrity of the product and keep as natural as possible I used a combination of dried and fresh herbs with no added oils or colours.

While these were lovely especially when I road tested them with my children and spoke to the barefooted naturalist inside me there were a few teething problems;

The colours were insipid and uninspiring and it was difficult to differentiate between the scents when in the packaging. Fine if set up as an invitation to play for my children but not so good for selling!

The natural oils continued to release from the fresh herbs (lavender and mint) and after some time began to change the integrity of the dough, changing the colour and texture. Again this was fine if used for my own children where they would get a few uses and then discard it. But as in terms of saleability I was looking for consistency and longevity for a quality product.

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Some of the earlier dough – when I started introducing gel colours

Also in term of logistics it was all fine and well snipping herbs from my garden in June but I needed something more sustainable to get me through the rest of the year ie Winter!  Continue reading