Tag Archives: sensory bin

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.



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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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Duck Pond Sensory Bin

Duck Pond Sensory Bin | Mama Papa BubbaOn the way home with a photo shoot with Amy of The Connection We Share (photos to come soon!) today, Gracen asked if we could build a duck pond.  I’m not sure where how or why this request came about, but I was as game as she was.

IMG 7960It’s been a while since we’ve put together a new sensory bin and what I loved this time around was that instead of me putting something together for her to explore and investigate, we created this one together.  Very similar to a frog pond sensory bin we’ve played with before, this one included glass beads in blues and greens, rocks, driftwood, some flowered branches from the yard, and a couple of toy ducks we already had on hand.

IMG 7962In order to make it outdoor-friendly, the pond’s water was nice and warm.

IMG 7970So warm apparently that Miss G didn’t mind getting her entire body soaking wet.

IMG 7966Grae played for a little while before moving onto more exciting things with Grandma Charlotte, but I know she’ll get lots more play out of it once the excitement level gets back to normal around here.

You can see Gracen’s oceanicerainbow rice, beach, watergardeningmoon doughconstructionand bird-themed bins by clicking on the links.


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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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Slime Sensory Station

After making each of her little dance class friends a mini mason jar filled with pink sparkly slime, plus giving out another 40 slime packets at Strong Start this morning, Gracen was excited to get her hands on a batch or two of her own. So today, between the Halloween festivities, we carved out some time in the afternoon to set up a very simple little slime station.  

Slime Sensory Station

Here’s how we set up the station… Slime in three colours, a handful of small containers, a strainer spoon, a sand sifting shovel, plastic cutlery, some bowls all on a plastic tray.

Gracen quickly settled on the blanket next to her tray and began exploring.  She wasn’t so sure about really diving in at first, but before too long she was picking up full batches of slime at a time and watching them slip and stretch out of her hands.

IMG 1287IMG 1294IMG 1297IMG 1301IMG 1306IMG 1296IMG 1321IMG 1324IMG 1327IMG 1339IMG 1344What I like so much about this sort of slime (besides how cool it is to play with), is that despite the fact that it looks like it can get pretty messy, it’s very easy to tidy.  Because it acts more like a solid when removed from little people, dishes, and blankets, it just kind of clumps up and comes away clean.  Plus, it doesn’t stain skin and it washes off of clothes and blankets without any effort.  Messy play being easy to tidy? A definite win in my books.

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Water Bead Sensory Bin

Okay, so I know that we are very likely the last ever play-lovin’ people to jump aboard the water bead train, but we’ve finally done it.  And they’re awesome. 

The truth is, while I’ve known that they could be purchased online, I was hoping to just ‘bump’ into them one day while doing some shopping.  I know this is ridiculous, but I’ve had my eyes peeled for months while at children’s stores and teaching stores, but of course I’ve had no luck finding them in those places… Am I the only person on the face of the planet that did not know what water beads were actually intended for?!  Here I was, thinking that they were some sort of revolutionary sensory-based material designed especially for play, when they are actually intended for using in flower vases and readily available at florists and in the floral sections of craft and dollar stores.  Duh!  My bad… 

That is until we were picking up a couple of lily-esque flowers for a pond sensory bin in our local dollar store the other day…  Sure enough, there they were.  Squishy, shiny, smooth marbles packed in small containers of water.  Non-toxic and environmentally safe.  Score!  I may have been a little overly excited given the situation… But hey, what can I say?

IMG 9732We first used them during our recent messy play date and today we took them outside again as part of a simple sensory bin.  Miss G requested the water beads be in pink water, so pink water it was.  We gathered up a few kitchen goodies (a slotted spoon is a must) and headed outside.

IMG 9734The coolest thing is that because these particular beads are clear, they’re nearly invisible when in water (especially in non-coloured water).

IMG 9736Then you put your hands in the bin expecting just water and discover a squishy, slippery surprise.  (Of course, Gracen already knew what to expect, but apparently it still felt wonderful enough to get elbow deep in the bin.)

IMG 9740IMG 9742Catching them while in water can be a little tricky, but it’s a big part of the fun.

IMG 9753IMG 9749That’s where a slotted spoon comes in handy (especially one of this size).  Grae quickly realized how much easier it made collecting her bouncy water beads and got to work filling up her tray.

IMG 9749IMG 9750Of course, what fun is a sensory bin without squishing your toes in it?

IMG 9763A few things to keep in mind about water beads…  Firstly, though they’re non-toxic, biodegradable, and environmentally safe, they {obviously} should not be ingested.  Also, from what I’ve read, they clog drains quite badly, so if you set up a water bead station in your bath tub or sink, be sure to use one of those mesh drain inserts to make sure none of them slip down into your pipes.  Lastly, they will dehydrate over time if left out of water.  Either store them in a sealed container with a little bit of water, or if they do dry out, simply soak them in water for 8 to 12 hours to rehydrate them.

IMG 9759I have a feeling there’s a lot of water bead fun in our future…  Brad and I picked up several packages of the dehydrated kind while on a little date night to the Summer Night Market last week, so we’ve got a stock pile of red, purple, pink, aqua, and multicoloured ones ready to go.  I’ve already got a million ways to use them floating around in my head… How fun would setting up a bubble tea station be? Or putting them into a big container of thick shaving foam? What about mixing them up with glow sticks and playing with them in the dark or creating a Halloween sensory bin filled with water beads, slime, and creepy crawlies?  I feel a Pinterest visit coming on very soon… ☺

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Outdoor Dishwashing Station

Outdoor Dishwashing Station | Mama Papa BubbaGracen loves “helping” wash dishes so much, I decided to turn it into a little afternoon activity today.  While having a toddler standing on a chair beside you splashing in a sink of bubbles as you power through a load as fast as humanly possible isn’t always super convenient, this activity was easy and fun for everyone involved.

IMG 7747We got started by collecting some supplies we had around the house – a bin filled with warm soapy water, a dish drying rack, some plastic dishes, cups, and spoons, a nearly empty dish soap container topped up with water, some scrubber pads, steel wool, a dish brush, and a dish towel.

IMG 7755I asked Grae if she wanted to play, and she got going without hesitation. All dishes in the sink!

IMG 7757IMG 7761Without a doubt, squeezing the soap into the bin was her favourite part.

IMG 7777She scrubbed and washed each dish one at a time…

IMG 7773And when they met her expectations, they were added to the drying rack.

IMG 7791Though she was down to business for part of the activity, things got silly and wet too!

IMG 7796This station was a total hit and I can definitely see it becoming a regular in our play rotation. After all, what’s not to love about bubbles, water, splashing, scrubbing, and getting soaking wet on a warm day?


You can see Gracen’s oceanicerainbow rice, beach, watergardeningmoon doughconstructionand bird-themed
bins by clicking on the links.


For extra fun, like us on Facebook here and find us on Instagram here.  

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Ocean Sensory Bin

Summer has finally arrived in the Lower Mainland and it’s getting h.o.t. (no complaining here – we love it).   Being that we like to be outside for the majority of the day (and our little old house heats up like an oven), there needs to be some sort of relief so that Miss G doesn’t overheat.  So, when we’re not at a pool, beach, or water park, we’re most likely in the backyard playing with water, ice, or a combination of both.  Today, we gathered a few things and put together an ocean sensory box to splash around in. 

IMG 6618Some rocks, a handful of seashells, a few pieces of driftwood, a fistful of greens plucked from the garden, a few floating sea creatures, and a couple drops of food colouring, and you’ve got yourself a mini ocean in your backyard. 

IMG 6621IMG 6623IMG 6625These ocean creatures are so neat. We found them for $1.25 each and they have the coolest squishy / stretchy / rubbery texture to them. They feel eerily realistic. 

IMG 6629Gracen dove in, and thought it was pretty hilarious that I’d set the crocodile up on a piece of driftwood. She experimented with taking him off and balancing him back on again, and once she’d pretty much mastered it, she moved on to balancing the dolphin and whale atop driftwood islands of their own.

IMG 6632Of course, there was plenty of swimming involved too.

IMG 6633She was just getting started on emptying the ocean out onto the towel when we heard a clattering coming around the side of the house… Grandma Charlotte and her friend, Judy, had arrived for an afternoon visit!  And with all kinds of special gifts for Miss G, no less.  Needless to say, our ocean fun came to a halt. Presents to open and and Manmaws to visit take priority, obviously. As they should. ☺

You can see Gracen’s icerainbow rice, beachoceangardeningmoon doughconstructionand bird-themed
bins by clicking on the links.
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Summer Fun: Ice Play

IMG 6426Knowing that we were expecting a string of scorchers (for Vancouver, at least) here in the city, I prepped this sunny day activity a couple of days ago so it would be ready to go when the mood struck.  All it took was a bunch of ice cube trays, a little food colouring, and some freezer space.

IMG 6427I know that some may wonder why on Earth I have so many shaped ice cube trays, and the only explanation I really have is –  I’m a Kindergarten teacher. (They’re great for counting, sorting, AND making homemade soaps for Mother’s Day!) No, they’re not what we use on a regular basis.  In fact, we have 8 regular ice cube trays in our freezer at this very moment. And while regular ice cubes would work just as well, I decided to pull out the fun ones to add some interest to the activity.

IMG 6428With the ice cubes frozen and ready to go, I quickly gathered up a few kitchen goodies to accompany the ice. Some cups, a couple of spoons, and a spatula to mix, scoop, and stir with, and a jug, a squirt bottle, and spritzer {each filled with coloured water} to melt the ice and make “soup” with.

IMG 6431IMG 6433IMG 6437Gracen was pretty anxious to get her hands into this bin and didn’t hesitate to put her water reserves to good use.

IMG 6448Mmmmmm…. Soup!

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IMG 6455With the soup ready to go, the tasting began.  We did have to explain that she couldn’t put the small cubes right into her mouth, but she was more than happy to just lick the bigger cubes.  Not as thrilled, was Papa, Grae’s official soup taste tester – yuuuummy!

IMG 6460Full of soup, it was time to climb in. Brrrrr! For being as cold as it was, she lasted a surprisingly long time in there.

IMG 6466With frozen feet, it was time to climb out, defrost those tootsies, and water the lawn a little…

IMG 6478And not long after, this is all we had left of our ice sensory bin… 

IMG 6487Though this sensory bin doesn’t lend itself to repetitive use like most do, it’s easy to set up and so refreshing on a hot summer’s day that we’ll definitely be enjoying it again very soon. Bring on the heat!

You can see Gracen’s rainbow rice, beachoceangardeningmoon doughconstructionand bird-themed
bins by clicking on the links.
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Mama.Papa.Bubba. on Pinterest

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had several readers contact me because they are having troubles ‘pinning’ Mama.Papa.Bubba. things…  The problem is that I don’t know why this is happening.  I’m certainly not a tech expert, and although my hubby is, he’s certainly not a Pinterest expert.  I’m going to do a little more research to try and fix the problem, but in the meantime, I’ve started adding recipes, activities, sensory bin ideas, and other things to my Pinterest account so they can be re-pinned freely. 

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Holiday Ideas  /  Photo Book Ideas  /  Toddler Activities


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Recipes  /  Sensory Bins  /  Toddler Food Ideas

Just click on the links below the photos. I know this isn’t the perfect solution, but I hope it helps! Hopefully I’ll keep up with it and pin new things as they’re posted on the blog.

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