Even though we enjoy sensory play all the time, I rarely give the twins squishy, slimy, or gooey materials. Mostly because I know they don’t care for them – which is exactly why I need to use them more. In fact, just introducing a bubble bath a few weeks ago was an adventure, even for C who typically doesn’t mind textures. At first, she wouldn’t even put her hands in the water. Now that I add bubbles all the time, they both love them. I know that sensory play is good for my kids, especially as B is turning out to be very cautious and skeptical of certain types of materials. Prior to this weekend, I had gotten away from sensory bins and so I decided to bring them back.
As usual, I wanted this sensory bin to be as cheap as possible and easy to set up and take down. And this time, I wanted it to be messy. Messy play is good play – and if I’m constantly wiping my hands or refusing to touch things or get dirty, I can expect my children to do the same.
One can of shaving cream is enough for multiple activities, and this weekend, we did two (second post coming soon!). This was the first one, and the first time the twins had been exposed to this sort of a texture.
I suppose it wasn’t really a sensory bin; more of a sensory pan (I used a cookie sheet). After spraying the shaving cream all over, I added drops of pink and purple food coloring. I set up some towels on the kitchen floor and added tools, and encouraged the twins to play. I knew they wouldn’t stick their hands in it right away (which was my ultimate goal, for them to touch it), so I invited them to stir it up with spoons first. Both toddlers happily jumped at the chance to stir.
As an added visual, the colors I chose were very soothing as they were swirled around the cookie sheet. It looked very cool!
After a while, I wanted to see if I could get the twins to touch the shaving cream. I drew letters on the cookie sheet with my finger, not jumping up to wash and wipe my hands (thought I wanted to!), letting them see me with the shaving cream just sitting on my fingers. C copied me.
At that point, even she wanted to wipe her hands clean (B wouldn’t even touch it). I told her she could wipe her hands on the towel, and that’s how she started her game of “paint the towel”.
It was around this time that I realized my desire to have them touch shaving cream was going to equal a big mess, but wasn’t that the point? They NEVER touch this sort of thing and I want them to be able to do that without worry or anxiety. So I just let her keep going. B stuck to the spoon and stir method and kept himself mess-free (darn).
I have always had more success with B using sensory bins than C, but that’s because I typically use dry ingredients or water. This being the first messy, slimy activity, I was surprised to find that C actually LOVES this sort of thing. She just didn’t even know it. The more she got on her hands and clothes, the more she wanted to cover herself in shaving cream.
I really just had to laugh. This was my purpose for doing this activity, so I sometimes had to bite my lip to keep from jumping up and washing her face, her hands, her legs, etc. It all stayed on the towel, for the most part. I do wish B had been able to touch the shaving cream, but unfortunately on this first day, he did not. He did enjoy playing with it, as long as it wasn’t on him. C on the other hand, was covered. Thankfully I had thought to take off her white pants before this started.
When she was all done playing she stood up and then I realized I was going to have a huge mess on my hands if I didn’t act quickly. This clearly couldn’t be cleaned up with a paper towel, so off to the bath she went.
After a quick rinse, she was all clean! I rinsed off the sensory bin tools and threw the towels in the washing machine. That was it! It looked super messy but the clean up was nothing! From this, I learned that we need to get messy more often with these types of textures, and that C actually loves it. Who knew? I’m hoping in time I can get B to at least tolerate it as well.
Here are a few other sensory bins we have tried (and loved) over the past few months:
Look for my post on the how-to’s of sensory bins for beginners coming soon!
Please visit my Facebook Page for more sensory ideas as well as cheap, simple crafts and activities for toddlers and preschoolers!