Sensory play is always a win at our place. The kids love exploring the different textures and using the props to inspire their own creativity. From this, there are times when they get lost in their own stories created with their characters and other times, they get engulfed in exploring the sensory mediums.
This sensory seashore small world resulted in the combination of both these inspiring types of play.
At the Beach Sensory Bin
Miss 2 and Miss 5 love messy play. Miss 2 is still mouthing so I am conscious of keeping as much play as I can taste safe.
With summer fast approaching, we decided to explore a sunny day at the beach. All bar the figurines, the entire scene was edible! It was really nice not to helicopter around them and just let the kids play.
What you need to make your sensory seashore:
- Tray (this one is from Kmart)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Gelatine
- 500ml Boiling Water
- Blue Food Colouring
- 2 cups Plain Flour
- ¼ cup Oil (Vegetable, olive, canola is all suitable)
- ¼ cup Desiccated Coconut
- Ocean creature figurines - we really love THESE ones.
How to make your sensory seashore activity:
There are two main elements to create to build this sensory seashore. The first is the blue jelly, ocean and the second is the cloud dough, sandy beach. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t!
With five minutes of prep in the morning and another couple setting it up once the jelly is set, this sensory seashore small world has the wow factor with not a lot of effort!
To make your jelly, simply mix your boiling water with food colouring and whisk the gelatine into the mixture until all lumps have dissolved.
Pour the mix into your tray and place it into the refrigerator. I tilted ours a touch to make the mix stream to one side. It took only an hour or so to set. Our jelly was only a centimeter thick.
While it was setting, we prepared our sand. It’s so easy! Mix the flour and oil together -that’s it! Mixing the flour with oil creates a ‘sand’ that is crumbly but at the same time, it can be moulded. Under pressure, the ‘sand’ keeps its form – perfect for sandcastle making at our sensory seashore!
Once the jelly has set, sprinkle your sand across one side of your tray to create your sandy beach. Sprinkle the coconut where the jelly meets the sand to replicate the crashing surf as it breaks on the shore. I also put a little sprinkle beneath the sea animals as they rose from beneath the surface of the depths.
With some animals placed on the land and others in the sea, there are plenty of opportunities to start conversations about different habitats and requirements to survive. The turtle crawling up the beach, the seal looking out to the sea, and the whales and shark frolicking through the waves.
When the girls laid their eyes upon the scene, they were roaring to jump in and play straight away. Before they did though, we spent a couple of minutes discussing what they think the different elements might feel like and what they were expecting. They went straight to the jelly and gently pressed on the surface with a solitary finger. They then moved to the sand, then the coconut. Once they had addressed each of the different textures, the true exploring began!
They dug their fingers into the jelly, made the whales and sharks swim through the jelly ocean, breaking the once smooth, shiny surface. The turtle went back and forth between the ocean and sandy shore and the seal got to ride an orca.
After a short while of developing their own stories with the sea characters, they started blending the different elements and turned the refined small world into delightfully messy play. Two sets of busy hands were not holding back! They were squeezing and mixing the jelly into the floury blend to create a new texture altogether!
This sensory seashore kept Miss 2 and Miss 5 busy for almost an hour. While they enjoyed the story telling component of the tray activity, the highlight for them was the messy play and exploring the different textures (and tastes!). How do you think your toddler would engage with this sensory seashore small world? I hope they love it as much as we do!
Some more fun summer themed toddler activities are:
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About the Author:
Dani is a busy stay at home Mum of 3 and early childhood teacher in training who is passionate about play based learning throughout early childhood. For educational play ideas that you can do at home and parenting tips visit Play Inspired Mum Check her out on Instagram and Facebook