Now that Sweet Pea is sitting up on her own I feel like the world has really opened up to her. She’s always been a curious baby but it seems like she has hit an age (13 months) when lots of cognitive development is occurring – and fast! In order to expose her to all kinds of sensory activities without breaking the bank I did some research online and in the used book section of Amazon (amazing what you can get for next to nothing!) and found an abundance of games and activities for toddlers that are practically free. I recently wrote about three activities at Mama’s Recess but have created a few more in the last couple of days to share with you.
Creating an indoor sandbox came from my September issue of Family Fun magazine. If you have kids and don’t already subscribe you are really missing out! I made “sand” using 4 cups of flour and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil mixed together by hand. I put it in a plastic storage bin, added some kitchen gadgets and created instant fun! (My 13-month-old did a lot of sprinkling sand everywhere – and even eating some. The 17-month-old who tested this had a lot more fun building things in the sand.)
A second Family Fun activity I found online was “Color in a Bag” in which you cook up 1 cup of corn starch, 1/2 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water until you get a pudding-like consistency. Let the mixture cool, then place in Ziplock bags and add food coloring. (I made two gallon-sized bags using the measurements listed.) Tape the zipper so that your babe doesn’t accidentally open it. Sweet Pea loved mushing this around in her hand – and it creates no mess for Mommy to clean up!
You can find all kinds of ideas for sensory bottles by just searching the term on the internet. All you do is fill an old, clean, clear bottle with something – I used sharks purchased at the Dollar Store and scraps of fabric – and add water. You can also find lots of neat mixtures online to change things up. A word of caution here – you need to make sure you glue the lids on (hot glue works great) to make sure your toddler doesn’t open the bottle.
At one point I was going to use homemade wipes instead of store-bought wipes, so my mother-in-law sewed up a bunch of my old t-shirts to make them. I ditched that idea once I realized how harsh the cotton was on Sweet Pea’s bum, but didn’t want to throw out these awesome little squares. Well, once I learned how much fun it is for Sweet Pea to pull tissue out of the box, I realized I could use my homemade wipes for the same purpose. I just folded them up and stuck them in an empty wipe container.
Finally, the easiest activity ever: dump some rice into a bowl. Add a measuring cup and a spoon. Watch your baby have a blast! We played in rice both inside (I spread a shower curtain on the ground to keep the floor clean) and outside. Sweet Pea was entertained by this one for almost an hour!
Naptime means playtime for NEK mom Aimee Alexander, whose creative outlet is writing about all things mom-related over at Mama’s Recess including children’s health advocacy, education, raising kids in rural America, and the occasional project or recipe. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest!