Old Mac Donald Had a Farm Sensory Box

Old Mac Donald had a Farm Activity for kids and toddlers
Old Mac Donald had a Farm is a favourite nursery rhyme in our house at the moment and we have read (and sang) the book many times over.
To continue the learning and love of this nursery rhyme, I thought I would set up a fun Sensory Hide and Seek activity. This activity is also provides a learning opportunity that encourages oral language and fine motor development.
Old Mac Donald had a Farm Hide & Seek Sensory Tub involves hiding all the plastic farm animals and characters in the rice and split peas mixture. Then using the mini tongs, searching through the mixture to find and catch each of the farm animals. This is all done while singing Old Mac Donald had a farm.
What you will need?
Invitation to play sensory hide and seek
You will need a large plastic tub, mini tongs, farm animals and characters, rice and yellow split peas.
I have used the rice and split peas for many activities and store them in this container with an air tight lid. This tub of rice and split peas has lasted for over a year and is showing no signs of needing to be thrown out. The life expectancy of the sensory tub will depend on how many children use the tub and the items that added to the tub.
Let’s Play
Hide and Seek Senosry Play Game
Some Ideas:
  • Hide all the farm animals in the rice and split peas mixture. Using the tongs to find and catch them. The first animal to be found, add them into the song Old Mac Donald. For example, when we found a horse, we sang; “…and on that farm he had a horse”.
  • Use your hands, instead of using the tongs to find and catch the farm animals in the rice and split peas.
  • Read a nursery rhyme book and sing Old Mac Donald had a Farm.
  • Talk about what sounds each animal makes.
Let’s Learn
Sensory Games for Kids
Sensory play promotes many learning experiences:
  • Sensory play encourages children to manipulate and mold materials, building up their fine motor skills and coordination.
  • Sensory play uses all 5 senses, but the sense of touch is often the most frequent. Toddlers and children process information through their senses.  They learn through exploring these.
  Benefits of singing nursery rhymes:
  • Develop and extend vocabulary.
  • Rhyme – understanding rhyme in our spoken language helps children learn to read.
  • Rhythm- helps children to remember words and develop auditory memory skills.
  • Phonemic awareness – hearing and understanding that words are made up of individual sounds and other word patterns.
Find more Sensory Activities <HERE>
Sensory Play and Activity Ideas for Kids, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Easter Sensory Box

Easter Sensory Box - Learning4kids
It is amazing how giving kids the most simplest of props can inspire and encourage their imagination and creativity.  There are no rules, no right or wrong……just fun, with a whole lot of learning happening. 
The Easter Sensory Box is filled with lots of Easter themed items to be explored and discovered creatively.
We have previously shared an Easter Sensory Play Table a while back and thought it would be fun to create another one using lots of different items.
What you will need?
How to set up a easter sensory box - invitation to play
To set up this invitation to play you will need a box, shredded paper, plastic eggs, craft chicks, mini tongs and Easter basket.  The shredded paper, plastic eggs and chicks can be found in most craft and discount shops.
You can add just about any Easter theme items to this Easter Sensory Box such as pompoms, empty egg cartons or foil to imitate the foil wrap around chocolate Easter eggs.
Let’s Play
 Easter Theme Activities
Some ideas: 
  • Sort the coloured chicks to match coloured plastic eggs.
  • Hide the chicks in the shredded paper and search for them.
  • Make a nest with the shredded paper and role play stories of hatching eggs.
  • Using the tongs, pick up each chick and count them as they are placed into the basket.
  • Mix up the coloured ends on the plastic eggs and un-jumble them to match the correct colours. 
Let’s Learn
Pretend Play Easter Theme Ideas
Learning Opportunities
  • Promotes imaginative play – provides opportunities for children to identify with the adult world.  Practice and role play their understanding and interpretation.
  • Strengthening fine motor – exercising fine motor muscles through manipulation of props.
  • Hand and eye coordination – trial and error, repeating actions to achieve an outcome.
  • Spatial perception and exploration
  • Problem solving – provides an opportunity to practice working out problems and strategies to overcome challenges.
  • Self Esteem – Overcoming the challenges promotes a sense of pride and achievement.
  • Language development
  • Maths – Counting, matching and sorting.
To view our previous Easter Sensory Play Table <CLICK HERE>
ideas for an easter sensory tub or table
Learning 4 kids

Soapy Slime FUN!!

How to make Slime?
This activity was FUN, REALLY FUN!!
Kids love to get messy, it comes with being a kid as they explore their natural curiosity about the world around them.  Messy-sensory play provides so many opportunities for learning, development and growth.  Soapy Slime is a great mixture to encourage and promote this  messy play with kids.
How to make Soapy Slime?

We have made Soapy Slime before which was around Christmas time last year and we pretended it was imitation snow.  You can read more about this activity here: Sensory Play with Fluffy Christmas Snow.
This time we made two different colours, yellow and red with the intention of creating a new colour, orange when we mixed the two colours together.
To make Soapy Slime you will need 1 cup of Soap Flakes, 3 cups warm water, food colouring, large mixing bowl, large container or tray and an electric beater.  You can find soap flakes at your local supermarket in the washing powder isle. 
As you beat the water, food colouring and soap flakes the mixture multiples, so I placed the large bowl on top of our container to catch the over flow.
Let’s Play 

We had scoops and funnels to play with the soapy slime but the kids seemed to prefer their hands.  I never mentioned anything about the two different colours mixing together, I left this for them to discover and they did in time as the two colours became one giant blob of orange soapy slime.
Sensory play with soapy slime is a great opportunity for kids to explore and use descriptive words.  Words to describe what they are experiencing, their senses and what they were feeling; slippery, slimy, soft, squishy and heavy and what it smells like.  
Messy play is important for young children, giving them endless ways to develop and learn. All types of play are essential for children’s development and early learning. Play helps children to develop and improve their gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination and concentration.  Also how to work co-operatively and collaboratively, use all their senses to discover and explore their environment, and develop their imagination, creative thinking and ability to problem solve and experiment with solutions.
Tips to consider and don’t stress the mess:
This activity looks very messy, well that is because IT IS! This can be understandably overwhelming for some parents but clean-up is quite easy if you plan ahead.  Take the activity outdoors in a large tub, that way when finished playing all you need to do is hose everything off, even the kids!!  This can be all part of the fun and experience!  I also put my kids in their old clothes, no shoes and an apron which provided some protection.  Have a towel handy for any accidents when kids forget they have soap on their hands and put it in their eyes.
Have fun!!
Learning 4 kids

Milk Numbers

These milk numbers shown in the photo are made using milk and vinegar.   Mixing milk and vinegar together is an interesting science experiment to try with the kids with some very surprising results – read below to find out how…….it is so cool!
Not only is this activity a great science experiment, it is also a fun sensory experience for the kids! 
Please note:
  • This activity requires parent supervision, particularly when cooking on the stove. 
  • The number shapes require about 2 days to completely dry and harden.  The
  • Number shapes are not edible!
What you will need?
You will need 2 cups of milk (due to expire soon), small bowl, strainer, chux dish cloth, small saucepan, measuring spoons, tray lined with baking paper, food colouring, 4 tablespoons of vinegar, straw and cookie cutters, we have used numbers cutters.  You will also need a medium size container for the kids to play with the mixture.
We split the milk and vinegar into two saucepans, 1 cup per child and also to make 2 different colours.
Pour one cup of milk into a saucepan and gently warm the milk on the stove but do not let it boil.  Turn off the heat; add a drop of food colouring and two tablespoons of vinegar.  Stir the milk and watch as the mixture changes! 
Continue to stir (pan will be hot) the milk until lumps form.  Kids will be amazed as they watch two different things happen, a thick, lumpy and a watery liquid begin to appear, it is no longer a smooth consistent mixture.
Place the strainer over the bowl and the chux cloth over the strainer.  Pour the milk into the strainer and leave it for a few minutes to drip out.  Squeeze out the rest of the milk into the bowl.  It is important to try and get out as much liquid as possible as this will help speed up the length of time it takes for the number shapes to dry out.
Place the lumpy part of the milk into a plastic container.  You do not have to do this part of the science experiment but I wanted my girls to explore the product that was made from the vinegar and milk.  With their hands, my girls squished, squashed, rubbed, flattened and played with the lumpy mixture, a great sensory experience.
With a spoon and using the tips of your fingers, scoop the lumps into the number cookie cutters. 
Remove the cutter and with a straw carefully make a small hole at the top of the number shape.   This is completely optional; we planned to use the holes to later thread some string through the number shapes.  Leave the number shapes on the tray to dry and as they dry they will shrink a little.  It takes a couple of days for the number shapes to dry completely.
With our Milk Numbers we made necklaces and a chain with all the numbers laid out in order.  They can also be used as a concrete tool for kids to learn and recognise numbers. 
Who would have thought that vinegar and milk would make these hard milk numbers?
What is happening?
Milk contains chains of molecules known as casein, which are normally curled up and dissolved, when you add vinegar, the molecules curl into different shapes and form sold plastic lumps instead.
Learning 4 kids

Playing With Gloop

If you haven’t made Gloop yet, then this is a must for any toddler or child to try.  It is super fun and super messy, I am not sure who had the most fun, me or the kids!!
Gloop is an interesting mixture with a unique texture to explore and play with. 
Playing with Gloop is a fabulous sensory and science activity to learn about the concepts of what a solid and liquid is.
What you will need?
You will need 2 cups of cornflour, 1 cup of water, two drops of food dye and a large container.  Encourage your child to mix and play with the Gloop before it is completely mixed together, the fun and learning starts here.  Explore the texture and talk about what it feels like, sticky, slimy, cold and powdery.
To see full instructions on how to make Gloop, click here:  How to make Gloop?
Tip: This activity can get messy but clean-up is quite easy as gloop can be picked up or wiped off the table and easily washed of hands and clothing.  I would recommend wearing an apron.
Miss 4 and Miss 22 months had so much fun exploring the behaviour of the gloop, how it drips from her fingers and how hard is hard when pressure is applied.  Miss 22months loved running her fingers through the gloop and watching the effect it had.
Here is Miss 4 making a ball of gloop by applying pressure but as soon as she stopped pressing in between her hands the gloop acted became runny.  It was so much fun to watch as they discovered what the gloop did as they played and experimented with it.
This is a great opportunity to explore more descriptive words: what does the gloop feel like?  It feels soft, gooey, slimy, runny and hard.
Understanding Gloop – What’s Is Happening? 
Solid or Liquid: Cornflour is made of lots of long, stringy particles.  When water is added they do not dissolve in water, but they do spread themselves out.  This allows the gloop to act both like a solid and a liquid.  When you roll the mixture in your hands or apply pressure to it, the particles join together and the mixture feels solid.  But if it is left to rest or is held up and allowed to dribble, the particles slide over each other and it feels like a liquid.
Sensory play promotes many learning experiences:
  • Sensory play encourages children to manipulate and mould materials, building up their fine motor skills and coordination.
  • Sensory play uses all 5 senses, but the sense of touch is often the most frequent. Toddlers and children process information through their senses.  They learn through exploring these.
  • Sensory play is unstructured, open-ended, not product-oriented; it is the purest sense of exploratory learning
  • Self-esteem: sensory play offers kids the opportunity for self-expression because there is no right answer and children feel safe to change or experiment with what they are doing.
  • Language development- experimenting with language and descriptive words.
  • Develop social skills: practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing. Provides opportunities for working out problems and experimenting with solutions.
  • Encourages Imagination and creative play.
Learning 4 kids
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