We love to be outside playing whatever the weather, but this time of year it’s inevitable that you spend more time than usual inside, especially with these stormy winds we’ve been having. The leaves falling have led to some lovely baby and preschooler activities for us as I just love Craft at this time of year!
The brain growth that occurs through sensory play enhances children’s senses, and their enhanced senses in turn make them better able to use those senses for learning. So we have looked at learning through touch and sight a lot in the past week!
Autumn Sensory Tuff Tray
For this activity Teddy (aged 4) and I went for an Autumn walk to collect leaves, conkers, pine cones and sticks. My husband nailed holes in the conkers and tied them together with garden string, so the babies wouldn’t put them in their mouths. We added tissue paper to the wood so there was different textures to feel on the tray. We made a fire with the sticks (keeping them large so again safe for babies) and added tissue paper flames. We put in a couple of woodland animals, wooden trees, a grizzly bear and some happy land fairies. This tuff tray ticks several early years developmental boxes such as going outside collecting treasure, the Sensory aspect of handling nature plus other textures such as tissue paper and finally the imagination/role playing that can be had. To extend this activity further you could build a duplo woodland hut or add in some vehicles to play amongst the leaves with or even mud and grass if playing outside.
Halloween Sensory Bags
Hand soap/ hair gel/ body wash or cooled Jelly (jello).
Spooky items – google eyes / spiders
Florence absolutely loved squishing the spiders around and working out how to move them and make a pathway with her finger tracing the spiders around the hand soap. A real fun way for a baby to be involved in Halloween!
Lets get Messy!
We then let the goo loose and I braved putting out messy play on the kitchen floor and they loved being able to explore a little freely!
I cooked spaghetti according to the packet instructions and took it off the heat a few minutes before it was cooked through. I ran the pasta under cold water and then halved the recipe and added a couple of drops of red and green food colouring plus a few drops of vegetable oil to coat it all. I then wrapped the coloured spaghetti up in greased proof paper to dry a little. once it was ready I placed the spaghetti onto a plastic halloween tablecloth with added bits and bobs I had handy to enhance the play.
I added to the spaghetti Halloween cookie cutters and some plastic bugs, tongs and plastic cups. they really enjoyed piling spaghetti into the cups and exploring the pasta over their little bare legs and hands!
Next up Jelly play- I cooked the jelly according to the packet instructions and then once it was set threw it into a bowl with some of the coloured spaghetti and again added bugs, spiders, eyeballs a cup and a wooden spoon. Teddy stirred up a potion and made witches brew!
All of these sensory play ideas have certainly helped entertain the little ones whilst we have had such unpredictable weather and its been a lovely way to introduce Autumn and Halloween to Florence.