Sticky fingers are good
Ayesha Parak-makada shows you how to turn messy play into an exploration of the senses – and she shares her playdough ideas for sensory play
WHAT IS SENSORY PLAY? WHY IS SENSORY PLAY IMPORTANT? MY TODDLER STILL PUTS THINGS IN HIS MOUTH. ARE THESE RECIPES SAFE? SO IS IT OKAY TO EAT IT?
While the recipes are taste friendly, your little one probably shouldn’t eat copious amounts. However, if they do choose to “sample” they should be absolutely fine.
DO I NEED TO BUY ANY SPECIAL INGREDIENTS?
Almost all of the ingredients used in this book are staples in most kitchens. The idea is for the average person to be able to whip up any of these recipes without much pre-planning or effort.
HOW DO I SET UP A SENSORY SCENE/TUB?
When I set up a sensory scene or tub, I like to choose a theme first. It makes deciding what to do just a bit easier. Most of the time I combine one of the recipes with an assortment of objects and little toys.
WHAT KINDS OF OBJECTS AND TOYS DO YOU SUGGEST?
Pegs, spoons, spatulas, cups, scoops, even a whisk or comb! Any assortment of goodies that would interest your little one. As for toys, I use toys related to the theme. I especially love model animals.
IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD GET TO MINIMISE MESS?
My favourite tools are cheap. I like to set up most of my sensory scenes inside an empty plastic sandpit. If the scene is not conducive to being set up in a sandpit, I use a kiddies’ plastic table that I set up in my kitchen. Cover it with a plastic table cover and lay down a sheet of plastic underneath. “Why the kitchen?” you must be wondering. Well, because I’ve learnt from experience that messy play and soft furnishings don’t really play well together. But the best and easiest place to set up a sensory tub… is in an actual, empty bathtub! And of course, the best part of using a bathtub is that you can simply wash away all the mess when you’re done.
There is so much more to playdough than just rolling it and cutting it with cutters. Here are a few exciting things that you can do with playdough:
Playdough can be used to hide tiny treasures in. My favourite trick is to hide tiny model animals inside balls of dough and then roll the dough to resemble eggs. I love watching the look of glee on a child’s face as they “hatch” an egg and find the creature inside.
You can also use playdough in conjunction with paper playdough mats. You provide your little one with a picture to help them get their creative juices flowing. The picture should act as a scene of sorts, that they can add playdough accents to.
One of my favourites is a picture of a bowl of spaghetti. Encourage the child to make meatballs out of playdough and add them to the spaghetti. If you would like the mats to last more than one use, it is better to laminate them, or just pop them into a plastic sleeve. YB
Any activity that aims to stimulate any one of a child’s five senses. From birth, children learn about the world around them using their five senses. Sensory play encourages learning in a practical way that stimulates a child’s senses. By stimulating a child’s senses we are sending signals to the child’s brain. We are helping to strengthen important neural pathways that are integral for learning and development. This helps prime the brain for learning other skills. I’ve chosen all of these recipes very carefully, almost all of them (unless otherwise stated) are taste friendly, which makes them ideal for toddlers. As all moms know, everything ends up in a toddler’s mouth.
This T article is an extract from the book Sticky Fingers, by Ayesha Parak-makada, mom of two and owner of toddler playgroup Mums & Cubs. Instagram: @stickyfingers. sensoryplay; se email: stickyfingers.sensory[email protected]; website: www.mumsandcubs.co.za. The book costs R250-R285 and is available from the website and leading bookstores.