Tag Archives: sensory bin filler

Ridiculously Fun Colourful Bubble Foam

Colourful Bubble Foam | Mama Papa Bubba

Oh my word… I’m so glad we finally got around to trying this!  I pinned the idea over a year ago and I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea just how much Miss G would love it and how much play it would bring about (just wait until we get to those pictures!)  

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For our bubble foam, we used an eco-friendly dish soap (only because that’s what we use in our house – I’m sure the regularly variety would probably make even better, ‘stronger’ foam) and an assortment of gel and liquid food colouring (both worked well – we just used a little less of the gel because of its strength and a little more of the liquid).

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While Amanda of Dirt and Boogers put both her blender and food processor to use when making her foam, we got out our supplies, and decided to try using our Kitchen Aid mixer instead.  I wanted to make a lot of foam, and I figured its big bowl would allow us to do so in fewer batches, and I figured that it would be able to whip the foam just as well as, if not better, than a food processor or blender (I also think a hand blender would work well too!)

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To make our foam, Miss G added 2 tablespoons of dish washing liquid, 2/3 a cup of warm water, and 2 drops of gel food colouring (or 4 or 5 of liquid) to the machine’s bowl.  Then we fired up the mixer on its highest speed, and let it whip the mixture into foam for 2 solid minutes.  The result was this thick, luxurious foam that formed soft peaks when a spoon was lifted out of it.

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We continued the process with 4 other colours of Gracen’s choosing, working quickly so that the foam would maintain its thick texture.

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After completing all of the colours in about 10 minutes or so, you can see that the purple foam we made first was starting to ‘air up’, but Grae didn’t mind one bit.  She was just thrilled that it was time to dive in finally!

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While I did consider bringing some items to use while playing in the bin (I thought maybe cups to hold foamy drinks or cars to put through a foamy carwash), I ended up skipping that part and I’m glad I did.  Sometimes less is more, and in this case, the foam was plenty of fun on its own.  Gracen immediately started swirling the colours together which made me wonder if next time we should try just 3 colours – red, blue, and yellow – to see how well a little colour mixing experiment would turn out.  Either way, swirling the rainbow colours together was brilliant fun.

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With her hands and arms absolutely covered in foam, the clapping began…  And goodness gracious, did she ever find flying foam hilarious!

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Next up, this silly slippery hands position took form…

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And before long, a certain someone’s head was in the bin!

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She popped up with hair full of foam, and I knew exactly what was happening next.

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Please tell me I’m not the only one whose kid strips off their clothes and jumps into their sensory bins in order to get the full effect…

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And who am I to deny this sort of crazy, messy, foamy fun really?

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Fully covered in bubbles, Miss G told me that they felt ‘so soft and cozy on her bare skin’ and I don’t doubt it for a minute!  At this point I was sort of glad we’d used eco-friendly soap as her skin can sometimes be quite sensitive, which led me to wonder if the same sort of results could be reached with a baby shampoo, bath wash, or bubble bath instead?  Another experiment for another day, I guess. ☺  The good news is that this foam didn’t irritate her skin in the least, and they lasted for a ridiculously long time.

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One thing I hadn’t thought of when we put together this sensory activity was the possibility of bubbles… And boy, oh boy, were there ever bubbles!  Big, giant, huge ones that formed in the space between her two legs and between her arms and her body each time she’d stand up.  (It’s hard to see, but there’s a giant one coming from in between her shins in this photo.)

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Without a doubt, this has been one of our most fun and engaging sensory activities in a long time, and for a little bit of dish soap, some water, and some food colouring, I’d say that’s pretty amazing! 

Colourful Bubble Foam

  • 2 tablespoons of dish soap
  • 2/3 cup of warm water
  • 2 drops of gel food colouring (or 4 – 5 of liquid food colouring)

Place all ingredients in a bowl.  Using a kitchen mixer or a handheld mixer, mix the ingredients on the highest setting for 2 minutes (or until the foam forms stiff peaks).  Repeat with as many colours as desired.

Enjoy!

 

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Fresh Mint Sensory Play

Fresh Mint Sensory Play | Mama Papa BubbaThe last few days have been hectic.  With only 5 days to pack up our entire house and prepare for our first of two upcoming moves, Brad and I have been working at full steam sorting through things, preparing boxes of items we’ll need for August, boxes that will go straight to Kuwait, and boxes that will go into storage until we return home to Canada in a few years.  Sort of sadly, that leaves our little lady to play independently almost all day long most days.  As a result, I’ve been pulling together all kinds of random, super simple activities with whichever everyday materials are nearby at the moment.  Luckily for me, this morning as I popped on the internet for a brief moment, there was a discussion on different ways to use fresh mint going on in one of the awesome blogger networks I belong to (if you’re not already one of the 68 000 people that follow our Pinterest board, you certainly should be!)  We have loads of mint growing in our backyard, so I took a bunch of the suggestions, mashed them together and created this fresh mint soup station for Miss G to explore.

IMG 0428To start out, I set out a big bunch of fresh mint, a pair of Gracen’s scissors, and few plastic bowls and spoons.  Grae began smelling and cutting and ripping the mint and the amazing scent of fresh mint filled our house.  She dished out bowls of ‘salad’ and delivered them to us as we worked.

IMG 0438Before long, I sensed that something would have to be added to the mix in order to keep Grae engaged in her play, so I grabbed a small container of green glitter and a jug filled with water and a couple drops of green food colouring and quietly added them to the bin.  (Slowly adding elements to sensory bins as play progresses is one of my favourite tips for keeping munchkins engaged in their play.)

IMG 0430In no time at all, bowls of sparkly green soup were rolling out of Gracen’s fresh mint kitchen.

IMG 0437Looks delicious, right?

IMG 0454This was such a simple set-up, but Grae enjoyed it so much that I just tidied it up to make it look inviting again, and I’m leaving it out overnight for Miss G to enjoy again tomorrow. We’ll see how the mint lasts!

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Ice Cream Shop {Using Ice Cream Dough}

Ice Cream Shop with Ice Cream DoughAfter making a few batches of ice cream dough this afternoon, Gracen and I set up a simple little ice cream shop in the living room.  We used an old wooden apple crate for her table top and made sure the floor was protected with a large bath towel.

IMG 5074Then we went around the house to collect a few other items.  First up – ice cream cones.  Yes, the real ones…  We had them on hand from her 2nd birthday party and they’d never be used otherwise, so may as well use them for some fun pretend play, right?

IMG 5075Of course, for customers not partial to cones, you need to have a bowl option.  These silicon baking cups did the job perfectly.

IMG 5076Next, we gathered up some spoons and an ice cream scoop…

IMG 5073As well as some buttons, beads, and straw pieces for candies and candy sprinkles. 

IMG 5082And with that, our little ice cream shop owner got to work.

IMG 5093IMG 5091There was plenty of scooping, touching, smelling, and exploring to be done.

IMG 5084Of course the ice cream treats rolled out of the shop one after another too.  A hazelnut ice cream cone for Papa…

IMG 5099And a strawberry ice cream cup {with extra candy sprinkles!} for Mama.

IMG 5088This was such a simple set-up, but I can already tell that she’s going to get hours of fun out of it.  Of course, it’s more than just fun…  This little ice cream shop incorporates pretend play, a sensory experience, and creativity too.

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♥ 

To see our other ice cream shop using play dough, click here.

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{AMAZING} Ice Cream Dough

Ice Cream DoughThis afternoon Gracen and I tried out a new sensory material originally created by Jessie of Play Create Explore (if you’re a parent and haven’t checked out her blog before, you definitely should – she’s got hundreds of sensory play ideas, fun bath ideas, and tons more) and it was AWESOME.

IMG 5062The ingredients seem a little strange, but they work perfectly together to create a hard ice cream-looking texture.  The main two ingredients are cornstarch and conditioner – yes, hair conditioner – the cheapest variety you can find.   The other stuff is just food colouring and cheap imitation extracts to make it look and smell more like real ice cream.

IMG 5063We decided on making 3 ‘flavours’ (coconut, strawberry, and hazelnut), Gracen started us off by putting an equal amount of conditioner in 3 bowls.

IMG 5065Then she added our food colouring – none for coconut, red for strawberry, and a combination of red, green, and yellow for the hazelnut.

IMG 5067Then she added a generous pour of extract into each of the bowls…

IMG 5068And mixed them up.

IMG 5069One thing I will say is that we should have spend a little more time looking for an unscented {or at least a very lightly scented} conditioner.  At $1.28, the price was certainly right, but the strong ‘fresh’ scent gave our imitation extracts a serious run for their money.  Even something food scented would have been better…  Next time we’ll look for something of the strawberry / coconut / mango variety.

IMG 5070Next up was the messy part…  Mixing the cornstarch into the conditioner mixture.

IMG 5078After gently folding and blending the cornstarch and conditioner together, this was the end result.

IMG 5080Isn’t it crazy how much it looks like REAL hard ice cream?!

IMG 5081Here’s a close up view.

IMG 5098And as long as it’s handled like hard ice cream usually is (not rolled or smoothed over too much – thanks for the tip, Jessie!), it scoops perfectly – just as ice cream does. ☺

 

We followed Play Create Explore‘s ratios exactly, so please visit the original post here.  The amounts we used for these batches, along with details on the colouring and extracts are as follows:

Coconut Ice Cream Dough

1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner

1 cup of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of imitation coconut extract

 

Strawberry Ice Cream Dough

1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner

1 cup of cornstarch

6 drops of red food colouring

1 tablespoon of imitation strawberry extract

 

Hazelnut Ice Cream Dough

1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner

1 cup of cornstarch

4 drops of red food colouring

4 drops of green food colouring

12 drops of yellow food colouring

1 tablespoon of imitation hazelnut extract

 

Enjoy!

♥ 

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Snow Dough {for 4}

I loved this simple variation on the usual cloud dough, and today I simplified it even further for some messy morning sensory play with the cousins.  To create some “snow dough” of our own, I simply made our usual cloud/moon dough and dumped in a couple of small bottles of silvery light blue glitter.  A fun way to kickstart the New Year, right?  

Though I could have added more festive / wintery items (mini evergreen trees, plastic animals, snowman accessories, etc.) to the sensory bin, I just stuck to the usuals this time around… Plastic cups, bowls, spoons, and cookie cutters and the kiddos loved it.

IMG 4042Three of the four munchkins were very eager to join.

IMG 4052Let the fun begin!

IMG 4053The sparkles are hard to see, but if you look closely, you should be able to spot them.

IMG 4048Kinslee digging in.

IMG 4066The fourth monkey just couldn’t resist the fun.

IMG 4076Snow dough toes. ☺

IMG 4072Korbin was a master moulder.

IMG 4073A girl who isn’t afraid to get messy. 

IMG 4075Snow dough smoothie, anyone?

IMG 4085Experimenting with snow dough snowmen…

IMG 4089A safer building site.

IMG 4090Snowballs stacked.

IMG 4097Ummm, Grae… What happened to your hair?

IMG 4098Who says the snow dough has to stay in the bin?

IMG 4103Mission accomplished!

IMG 4104This explains things.

 

Sparkly Snow Dough (we doubled this recipe for a group of 4 children)

  • 8 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of baby oil (or other oil)
  • 1 small container of white/silver/blue glitter

Mix with your hands or a whisk until ingredients are evenly distributed.  Play!

♥ 

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Candy Cane Epsom Salt Sensory Play

Candy Cane Epsom Salt Sensory TrayLast night, I sliced my finger open {after my very favourite ever vintage mixing bowl fell from our infamous mountain of clean, drying dishes and shattered all over the floor *sob*}.  As I shuffled through our catch-all closet to retrieve the first aid kit, I stumbled upon a giant bag of forgotten about epsom salt.  And that’s how this random little sensory activity began. ☺

IMG 3195Having used regular salt {on trays} for drawing and letter printing practice in my classroom many times before, I knew that epsom salt would be just as fun.  But to amp it up a little and make it more festive, we decided to turn out plain old epsom salt into the candy cane variety with a little peppermint extract and food colouring.

IMG 3198Of course my little helper did most of the work.  

To get started, we measured out a couple of cups of epsom salt into a zip-close bag (you could easily use a jar instead – it just requires a little more shaking power).

IMG 3205Then we added a spoonful of peppermint extract.  And because this was the white batch, zipped up the bag tightly…

IMG 3203And shook it up.

IMG 3216We repeated the process twice more, this time adding food colouring into the mix.  The end result was a tray of minty fresh, candy cane-coloured epsom salt just begging for little hands to play with it.

IMG 3217I gathered up a few spoons and some silicon muffin cups, and Miss G retrieved some Christmas cookie cutters.

IMG 3221Then she got to playing.

IMG 3227First up was making “pucktakes” (cupcakes according to our silly little girl).

IMG 3232Of course pucktakes need candies and cherries on top, so off she went to collect some buttons.

IMG 3234This simple little sensory station kept her happily engaged while I made dinner and washed a big load of dishes, plus our whole kitchen smelled deliciously of peppermint.

IMG 3237And the fun didn’t stop there… When bath time rolled around, Miss G picked her very favourite epsom salt cupcake to take along with her.

(The really neat part is that if you let the salt sit in the silicon cups overnight, they harden and become little pucks that are easily portable to and from the bathtub.)

Candy Cane Epsom Salt
  • 2 cups of epsom salt
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • 4 – 7 drops of food colouring
 
Put all of the ingredients into a bag or jar and shake until fully blended. Play!
 

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Making Vibrant Dyed Rice

I’ve had dyed rice in my bank of sensory box ideas for a long while now, and since we had a giant bag of Kokuho Rose in our kitchen (the hubby’s favourite… yummy, but white rice) and our dyed pasta turned out pretty well a few days back, I figured we’d give it a go this afternoon. I knew I wanted the colours to be really vibrant, so I decided we’d use gel dyes and something a little more potent than vinegar (hence the jars this time instead of plastic bags).  While searching bloggyland, I found that several people suggested using hand sanitizer in place of vinegar or rubbing alcohol.  It couldn’t have been more perfect actually. While we didn’t have rubbing alcohol on hand, I did have some yummy-smelling hand sanitizer that’s just been sitting around as I’ve been working on getting my germaphob tendencies under control.
IMG 5245With gel dyes and fruit-scented hand sanitizer involved, I decided I’d get our project started before enlisting the help of Miss G.  I collected some jars, put a couple of squeezes of sanitizer in each, and then added gel dye, toothpick and all.

IMG 5249With the sanitizer and dye bottles safely tucked away, I filled a big bowl with rice and invited my little lady to help with the rest of the process.IMG 5253She was quite thrilled with the giant bowl of rice, so I gave her a few minutes to play with it before getting started on her first job. When good and ready, Grae added about 1 cup of rice to each jar, which turned out to be the perfect amount.IMG 5255First step complete. I’m just glad you can’t see how much rice is on the floor…  Next time I would probably have a wide-mouth funnel on hand just to make the pouring part a little easier / less messy.
IMG 5261With everything inside the jars, I sealed the jars tightly and the shaking began!IMG 5265Grae and I switched off, giving each of us little breaks and the chance to watch the rice slowly become coloured and more vibrant with time.IMG 5274Not going to lie… It took quite a lot of shaking.  We probably could have stopped earlier, but I wanted the colours to be consistent, so we shook a little more.
IMG 5281This was the end result.

ExcitedDo you think Grae was happy with the results?

IMG 5290Next, we headed out into the solarium, industrial-sized baking sheet in hand.  I poured the rice out, removed the toothpicks, and got rid of a couple of little rice/dye clumps while Gracen oohed, ahhed, pointed, and smelled her newest sensory bin filler.IMG 5300Just look at those colours!  And the perk to using fancy shmancy sanitizer? Deliciously nectarine mint-scented rice (slightly reminiscent of high school nights plagued by cheap, 2 litre coolers, but shhh… Don’t tell Grae.) Now all we have to do is wait patiently enough to let our scented rainbow rice dry!

If youre worried that your little one may put the rice in his/her mouth, try using vinegar instead of hand sanitizer. It should have similar results and will be much safer.

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