Sensory tubs are not only fun for kids, but they are also educational. As Bev Bos, a well-known early childhood educator and author, says ““If it hasn’t been in the hand, the body, and the heart, it can’t be in the brain!” Children learn through play, interaction, problem solving, exploration, and discovery. Sensory tubs allow your child to do all of the above. It helps them grow in all developmental areas, as well as math, science, and language development.
- Dirt/Mud: Throw some dirt in a tub and let your child add water to make mud. To make it even more interactive, give your child a bucket so they can collect the dirt for the sensory themselves. Give them toys, like dump trucks and tractors, to play with in the mud.
- Sand with Shells: Fill the tub with sand and shells. Your child will have fun digging for shells in the sand.
- Bird Seed: Fill the tub with bird seed and maybe your child will attract some birds while he/she plays 😉
- Cooked Spaghetti: If your little one is at the stage of putting everything in their mouth, this is the perfect sensory tub for them. Add food coloring to make it extra fun, and to start exposing them to/teaching them colors.
- Oobleck: Mix about 1 cups of water with 1.5-2 cups of cornstarch. It will create a consistency that is a liquid and a solid all at the same time. When you squeeze the mixture in your hand, it will be a solid, and when you open your hand, it will turn into a liquid. You can play around with the measurements by adding more cornstarch or water until you get the desired consistency.
- Flaxseed + Water: So simple and so fun for your child to experiment with!
- Shaving Cream: Make sure you get the foaming kind. You can also add food coloring so they can watch the colors mix together, and give them toys to play with in the shaving cream.
- Clean Mud: This is a fun activity for your child from start to finish. All you need is a bar of ivory soap, a roll of toilet paper, and warm water. Have your child help by ripping up the toilet paper into small pieces, and place the pieces in a large bowl. Next grate a bar of ivory soap into the bowl with the toilet paper, and add warm water, mixing it until it all mushes together. Put it in the sensory tub with some cookie cutters, and let your child play with his/her creation.
- Treasure Sand: Spray paint rocks and/or toys gold and bury them in the sand for your little treasure hunter to dig up.
- Pouring Station: Place several different sized cups and containers (measuring cups, recycled tupperwear, etc.) into the sensory tub. Fill some of the cups with water and let your child pour the water into the other cups. You can also add food coloring to the different cups of water to teach about color mixing. This activity promotes hand-eye coordination and imagination, as well as learning colors when you add food coloring.
- Bubbles: I haven’t met a child who doesn’t love bubbles. I’ve found that dawn dish soap is the best for making bubbles.
- Rice and Beans: Put a bag of rice and a bag of beans in the tub with some cups and spoons for your child to play with.
- Colored Rice: To make colored rice, a 1 cup of uncooked rice, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and a few drops on food coloring into a plastic bag. Mix it all together, then place it on aluminum foil to dry. The rubbing alcohol will evaporate. Repeat for different color batches. Once it’s all dry, put it in the sensory tub, and let your child explore all the colors.
- Flour + Baby Oil: Mix 1 bag of flour with 3-5 bottles of baby oil, depending on your desired consistency, then place the mixture in the sensory tub.
- Washing Babies: Let your child play mommy or daddy by giving their baby a bath. Fill the tub with soapy water, a sponge, and towel, and let your child give their baby a bath.
- Glue and Shaving Cream: Mix equal parts white school glue (the kind you squeeze out) and shaving cream (I get the cheap foaming kind from the dollar store)…you might want a little more glue than shaving cream but you can play around with the ratios until you get a consistency you’re happy with. It creates a fluffy, cloud-like texture. It’s also fun to paint with so feel free to give your child a paint brush, and paper or whatever surface you’re ok with them DIY oil painting by numbers. When it dries, it has a foamy texture.
If you have any other sensory tub ideas, leave them in the comments below so me and anyone who reads this post can try them out 🙂