We are excited to host @mummaneedsacoffee as this weeks guest blogger! Cheryl shares sensory play ideas for getting creative with your Paddling Pool. So make yourself a large mug of coffee & enjoy reading the simple ideas for keeping your little ones entertained outdoors!
Paddling Pool Sensory Play
Who else had high expectations for lockdown? I pictured myself sitting in the garden, in the sunshine, sipping a lovely hot coffee while the little ones were happily engaged in whatever they were playing. In reality the kids are bored of all their toys, everyone’s got cabin fever, and I’ve microwaved my coffee 3 times already this morning. Even the paddling pool is “boring” now!
So if you feel your creativity is dwindling and you’re fresh out of ideas to keep little people amused (who isn’t at this point?!) just know that you are not alone! I have a few quick and easy sensory play activities to share with you, which can all be done outside in the paddling pool! And don’t worry – all of these activities can be scaled down and done in a play tray or any container you have to hand (although doing them in the paddling pool is way more fun!)
Who doesn’t love jumping up and down in muddy puddles? This actually isn’t as messy as it sounds, I promise! It’s probably our easiest activity to throw together! You will need some warm water (only an inch or two deep) and a cup of cocoa powder. Mix together thoroughly in the paddling pool and that’s it – You have your very own muddy puddle! The best part is, it smells absolutely amazing! Move anything out of the way that you don’t want to get splashed, as there will be some serious splashing going on! When they’re all splashed out and you want to extend this activity, add farm animals or a big truck, then offer a bowl of clean water and cloth to clean off the ‘mud’ when they’re done.
Foam and Water Beads
Not only does this combination look incredibly inviting, it also feels amazing! It’s super easy to throw together and offers such a rich sensory experience. You will need shaving foam or mouldable bath foam and a ton of water beads. Water beads can be sourced cheaply on Amazon or Ebay and are such a versatile sensory material! They come as tiny plastic balls which you soak in water overnight and they expand into spongy, smooth, shiny balls which are about the size of a marble. Fill the pool (or a container) with foam first, and throw over the water beads and you have a very tempting invitation to play! Add scoops and containers and let their imaginations lead the way. You could also prompt with ideas like “make me an ice cream”.
A fun simple twist on water play in the pool! It’s amazing how a drop of food colouring can make water play look so much more inviting! You will need food coloring, water, and coloured objects (to match the colour of the water) Firstly collect some items from around the house, to match the colour of your pool. We like cookie cutters, cups, bottle tops and plastic balls. Fill the pool and add a couple of drops of food colouring to make the water your desired colour. We have used coloured water like this many times and it hasn’t stained anything yet! (if you were worried about your child turning blue or something!!) Swish around to fully mix together and then finally add your coloured items to the pool. This is also a great activity to do in the bath!
Foil and Pom-Poms
This shiny set-up will shimmer beautifully in the sunshine and really capture the little ones attention! They will love to squeeze the wet pom poms in their hands and try to catch them and fish them out! You will need some silver kitchen foil, pom poms and water. While the pool is empty, line the bottom with some silver foil. I used some double sided tape to stick it to the bottom of the pool (this won’t last forever as it’s going to get wet but will last for the duration of the activity) Next just add water and pom poms! You could also add a spoon or scoop to try and catch the pom poms. This activity is great for hand eye coordination and working on those fine motor skills!
No outside space?
If you don’t have an outside area to do these activities, the bath works really well as a space to engage in some messy play without worrying about the clean up job!
I hope I have given you some inspiration to make that “boring” paddling pool exciting again!