Ah summer! Here you are again and here we are trying to find fun activities to keep the kids engaged. We pulled out our list of sensory summer activities for this blog, but decided that it would be fun to enhance them a little bit for even more fun sensory summer play. So, we turned to Google and Pinterest for some expanded ideas. Below are some of our favorites, as well as the originals, that are both fun and sensory-oriented.
Sand and Water Play
Nothing says summer like sand and water. Grab some buckets and shovels and head to the beach for some fun and creative tactile input. But, never fear if you don’t have a beach near your home. You can recreate the beach with a sand and water table in your backyard. They don’t take as much sand as a traditional sand box, and can be cleaned out easier so as to not invite an unsanitary environment (think cats, here). You can also fill the sand and water table with other objects like uncooked rice, beans, noodles or even shaving cream. At the end of the summer, if the table is cleaned out well, you can bring it inside and fill it with snow!
Here’s another option we picked up with a little google search. Perhaps you need a taste-safe option for a kiddo that may like to sample his sand creations? The blog A Little Pinch of Perfect has a great recipe for Taste-Safe Kinetic Sand that uses milk powder and vegetable oil. Make up a little bit of this for your sand table or even use it throughout the winter. Read the blog for more info and a recipe.
Play Doh, Gak, Oobleck, Silly Putty
Each of these fun substances offers a different texture sensation to help kids develop normal tactile processing, but also to enhance their creativity and have fun! You can purchase several of these substances or many of them can be made using recipes found online. A simple set of cookie cutters, bowls and measuring cups will provide kids with hours of sensory input fun.
Fun Playdough “Ice-Cream Shop” Enhancement
This idea came from A Little Pinch of Perfect again. Using a little bit of flour with frosting makes a fantastic substance that looks like ice cream, but is a fun and taste-safe sensory playdough. Kids can play using ice cream cones, cupcake wrappers, sprinkles and candy bits for ice cream shop fun. And if they decide to taste it, no sweat! Read more and get the recipe!
Sensory Scavenger Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt around the yard of different textured items for kids to find. You can include things to find that are in the grass, mud, flowers and water to give kids a variety of textures.
We love this checklist. It came from the DoodleCraft blog and is a perfect list of things to find that target different tactile responses.
It’s amazing how much fun kids can have with a straw, but this is such an easy activity. Just buy a package of colorful and fun crazy straws and let the kids get to work. They can use their breath to blow different objects around. It’s also a great way to keep them sipping on water on those hot days!
A favorite at our house is a mini boat race. All you need to do is fill up a small pool with water. (In Scouts, we use rain gutters, but anything that will hold water will work.) Then let the kids make lightweight boats out of paper or lightweight wood. (Ours usually come from kits that we get through Cub Scouts, but you can check craft stores or someone handy can help the kids design one. You can also use all sorts of things around the house to make boats like disposable plastic cups or slices of old pool noodles. Plain old paper boats work well, too.)
Water Balloon Fun
Have you ever been to a summer kid-friendly picnic that didn’t have someone pull out a bag of water balloons? They’re pretty much a given for us. A fun game for kids that has lasted the test of time is the water balloon toss. Have two kids stand close together and toss the balloon back and forth trying not to drop it. Gradually have them move apart and continue to toss the balloon. Eventually, someone will drop the balloon and get splashed with water. (Note: Some kids may scare at this at first. Show them ahead of time what will happen to avoid tears.)
A Whole New Water Balloon World
Oh Pinterest! Where were you when I was a kid! Anyway, a quick glance at Pinterest unloads on the amazing creativity all with a little water balloon. I can’t wait to try the Glow in the Dark Water Balloons, Water Balloon Art and Water Balloon Pinatas.
Children love bubbles! Bottles of bubbles are a cheap way to entertain the kids for hours. Experiment with different sizes and shapes of bubble wands. Bubble machines are a fun alternative, too.
Fun with Pinterest
Just like all the others, bubbles can also be enhanced by doing a little searching on Pinterest. We love the idea of Geometric Bubbles for the older kids. Giant Bubbles and Painting with Bubbles are both on our list of things to try this summer!
The possibilities are limitless. We think summer may need to last all year long!