It seems like the haze would be lingering around until November, and the kids are still spending most days at home. Co-ops have been cancelled, and we've been doing a lot more art and craft (see this post for our list of simple crafts to try). They've also been pretty good at playing on their own too, coming up with imaginary parties and picnics and pirate adventures!
While play ranks highly on our list of things to do, I must admit I've quite neglected the aspect of sensory play, since it entails a fair bit of mess, especially when you have someone like Lil J! I've been wanting to make myself a batch of playdough for the longest time, since that seems to be one of the less messy sensory activities (compared to sand or rice!), but well, you know how things are. So when the folks over at Tickle Your Senses asked if we were keen to try out their sensory kits, I had to say yes!
We got to choose a playdough kit, as well as a water beads kit. For playdough, I went with the body parts playdough kit, since I thought the kids would enjoy making various creatures using the parts:
It turned out I was right! They loved making monsters and pancake faces, and snowmen and what not. To reduce the mess, each kid got a tub of dough, as well as a placemat to work on, and everyone shuffled the body parts and took turns using them. I didn't let them mix the colours (at least for now), since I didn't want to end up with muddy brown balls of mixed up dough.
Lil J took a sniff upon opening his tub and exclaimed "it smells like lavender, Mama!". And he was right. The folks add a drop of lavendar essential oil to their dough, to add to the sensory play, and I admit that was a nice touch, since most commercial doughs don't exactly smell very good. You also have the option of having your doughs unscented, should the smell bother your child. Just select that option when shopping at their site.
All three boys ended up playing for over an hour with the dough, and made so many different funny creatures! The dough was soft and not flaky, so the cleaning up was minimal, especially since we used placemats. I was told that their dough is made using plain flour, salt, water, cream of tartar, oil and food coloring, so playing with it should not be a problem for kids with sensitive skin. The body parts were made of sturdy plastic. One or two parts had sharp bits, which you tend to find with small plastic toys, however, these were easily broken off or filed down. (But as for all toys, do always check for sharp parts, before giving them to your kids to play.)
After a while, the boys moved on from making creatures, to doing other things with the dough. They hid body parts and pretended to excavate them at a dinosaur dig. They made pancakes to eat. They poked holes here and there.
Given that the dough should last for 2-3 months if stored properly in their tubs (side point, I love the tubs that the dough comes in, since these can be re-used for so many purposes!), I think we'll be seeing a lot more playdough sessions in the weeks to come!
In terms of the water beads kit, we chose the green water beads sea creature kit, simply because we knew Baby J would go crazy over the octopus. The kit came with two squeeze bath toys, a shovel and strainer, as well as a jar of water beads and a packet of dehydrated water beads.
We've yet to use this kit yet, as I'm saving this for another hazy day, but we did try growing half of the packet of dehydrated beads. This was how they looked, before we added water:
And this was the water beads after we soaked them in water for a couple of hours! (I didn't change the container, so you can see how much they have swelled up.) The beads seem bigger than those that are purchased from Daiso. The plastic tools are well made, and I liked how the handles of the shovel and strainer can be removed so that they are easier to store.
All in all, I think a fair bit of thought went into designing each kit, and I especially like the convenience of being able to order home-made playdough, and have it come with tools that you can keep for future sessions. We will definitely be ordering more playdough kits soon!
Tickle Your Senses is kindly sponsoring a giveaway of a playdough kit and a water beads kit to two readers of this blog! To take part in the giveaway, please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. For more information, please visit the Tickle Your Senses website, as well as "like" their Facebook page to get more updates and promotions.
Disclaimer: We were sponsored a playdough and a water beads kit for purpose of the review, and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.