Sensory activities and creativity are literally a match made in heaven.
Just think about when your children create a painting for example. They are able to see the colours, smell the paint and feel the texture of the paint and paper. And, if they are anything like my children, they will taste it too.
Sight, smell, touch, taste and even sound; so many sensory inputs for such a simple activity. If you allow your children the freedom to create without boundaries, not only can you help them build on their sensory development but you can really nurture their creativity and imaginations too.
This afternoon I decided not to hold back at all and let my children loose with giant pieces of paper, tubs of paint and even some bubble wrap. All I can say is that it was messy, very messy! But to say that they loved it would be a HUGE understatement.
What we used:
• Poster paints in various colours
• Giant pieces of paper (I used newsprint flip chart paper)
• Smaller pieces of paper (for the butterfly paintings)
• Some scraps of bubble wrap I had saved
• Tape (to hold the bubble wrap on)
This is just a list of the items that we used however feel free to use whatever you have. Remember you are encouraging your children’s creativity and they will be able to use whatever you give them. You will also notice that we were outside for this activity, it is messy and so I would recommend that you do the same or at least lay down some drop sheets inside to save your floor.
Before I handed over the paints to my little ones I wanted to try and get them to make some rainbow butterflies with footprints for wings. I got them sit down and then I painted rainbows on the soles of their feet. It was a fantastic sensory experience for them because they could feel the texture of the brush and the cold, wet paint but they couldn’t see exactly what I was doing. It was only after I picked them both up and placed their feet flat on the paper that they saw the rainbows. They then used their little fingers to paint bodies on their butterflies.
Of course once I had let them get paint on their fingers and their feet there was no turning back and I had barely laid down the sheets of paper before they got stuck in with their painting. It was chaos and they were painting their own feet, painting each other’s feet, painting hands, squelching, jumping, smearing and falling.
Once they had completely filled up their first sheets of paper I taped some pieces of bubble wrap onto their feet and got them to repeat the process. While bubble wrap itself isn’t foreign to my children, they have never worn it on their feet and it was amazing to watch their reactions, especially that of my two year old. The combination of the pillow-like bubbles, the popping sounds and the patterns they created made this an absolute winner.
Out of all of the sensory activities I have done with my children I can honestly say that this has to be one of my absolute favourites. I am not sure if it was the fact that I adore painting or that they had no structure to the activity or simply the never ending squeals of laughter. Whatever the reason was, it was a very memorable activity and one that I definitely plan on repeating.