Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tot School: Sensory Bottles

This Post is Linked up to Tot School Gathering Place.

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon sensory bottles. I thought they were a really neat idea, so I decided I was going to make some!

My first attempt was a flop. I took a 600 mL pop bottle, threw in some water, baby oil, dry sparkle powder and some beads. I capped it, shook it...and everything clumped together. Blah. After a little more research, I tried it with just the sparkles and water. It turned out OK, but it is still a little clumpy. I have no idea where those first attempts are, my little jellybean made off with them.

So, I decided to try smaller bottles; mini water bottles that are the perfect size for little hands. I had a hard time finding them, but eventually found a package of a dozen at Wal-Mart for about 5 dollars. So far, I have used 11 bottles, but have 7 useable sensory bottles to play with.

I kept the water in two of the first three I made. The first one I dried with paper towel and half filled it with rice and a few drops of food colour. Once shaken, it turned the rice blue. This is her absolute favorite one, she hides it every day so I don't have a picture, I'm having a hard time finding it this week. I think she likes it because of the noise it makes. For the two with water, one I stuffed with some pipe cleaners that I had cut in half and the other I stuffed a few sparkly pom poms. I ended up tossing the pipe cleaner one after a few weeks, they rusted and clouded the water.

The pom one is on the left. The one on the right has sparkles and rocks in it from the dollar store. Of course, I had to empty some of the water out to add the rocks (below)

The sparkle one was with the third set of mini bottles that I made. My second set was a large 2L bottle that I filled about half way with water, added about a inch of cooking oil and a few drops of food colouring. It is very big, so she seldom plays with it. At this time, I also took another mini bottle and dumped half of it, then added a few drops of dish soap.

When it is shaken, bubbles fill the bottle. After a few hours, it settles down. She doesn't have much interest in this one.
The next set, along with the purple sparkle rocks, I made the above two. The green one simply has a few drops of food colouring, The one on the right has clear marbles in it. When shaken, they roll and rattle around, but because they are clear, they are difficult to see. This and the sparkle ones are her other favorites.
The most recent one has hair gel and google eyes in it. The eyes are really difficult to see and this one only confuses her. I think it may have needed more gel or maybe some water to thin it out.
These are our sensory bottles. Salean plays with them every day, rolling them, comparing them, and just looking at them or carrying them around. We use them daily for Tot School.
This last week was another damp one, but we were out almost every day. We still managed to get in some activities, though!
Our sensory bin this week had coloured pasta in it, she loved it! I used four colours of pasta with a toy frying pan, an old baby bottle, a cup from a tea set and a toy boat, which was mostly ignored.
I used THIS recipe for the purple bowties, the blue penne and the pink swirls. For the green swirls and bugs, I used THIS Kool-Aid recipe. I prefer the first because it dried faster and I found the Kool-Aid pasta stuck together to much.
The first day, she played with them for almost an hour, scooping, pouring, filling the bottle, and flinging them everywhere. The next day they went directly to the mouth, so I ended up taking them. Even when I sat beside her and constantly told her no, she tried eating them. I think she was just being a little naughty, because she had a mischievous grin on her face each time.
We also worked on puzzles this week. She hasn't quite got the hang of them, she sets the pieces on the correct spots, but can't figure out how to slide them in. Lots of time to work on that!
You'll notice the scratch on her forehead. Easter Sunday after Daddy opened her bubble blower, he left the cardboard box on the floor. They are one of her favorite playthings, after all. She bent over to pick something up and bopped her head on the corner of the box! That day, it only looked like a small piece of skin was taken off, and she barely cried. As the week went by, a scab formed and it got darker (the above picture was taken Monday, it was quite light; the picture above it was Tuesday, notice it is darker). I had several people ask me about it when we were out Wednesday. She gets her clumsiness honestly, I have been known to crack my head off the edge of a desk or two when bending over, not noticing that I was standing so close!
Our art activities for the week included double dabber painting (I finally bought another one) and her first time painting with a paint brush.

She absolutely loves the dabber painting, I just gave her one in each hand and let her go at it.

 Painting with a brush went a lot better then finger painting did. It was still messy, but not as much, so she didn't cry this time. She also didn't try to eat the paint.
That is pretty much the highlights of our week. We went on a couple of road trips to run errands for Daddy. It was also raining and/or snowing much of the week, but we managed to get out for a couple walks. I can't wait for the skies to clear and the sun to shine!!
Hope everyone had a great week!!

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