Sensory Play is plays a very important role here at daycare. Beyond just the fact the kids love to get their hands dirty, sensory play actually contributes to brain development. When a child's senses are engaged, new neural pathways are created to assist with further learning in later years. By creating those pathways, we open up new ways to retain memories and learning.
For this sensory bin you will need:
5 packets of gelatin
3 cups cold water
2 cups warm water
Blue food coloring
Plastic ocean toys
A Bowl or Bin for the gelatin
Start by emptying the gelatin packets into the bowl. Pour the cold water into the gelatin and let sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the remaining water with the food coloring. Pour the sea creatures in with the gelatin, and then pour the hot water over the cold. Stir it up until it is well mixed. Let it set overnight in the refrigerator or outside if it's cold.
It happened to be a really warm day when we were ready to use the sensory bins, so we took them outside on our back patio. The gelatin didn't stay inside the bins very long, and before I knew it the kids and the back patio were covered.
As a word of caution, gelatin is very slippery!!! Once a lot of it is on a floor or patio, it becomes akin to an ice-scating rink. My kids started slipping on the gelatin and at first it was fun, and then we started having too many spills so we had to clean up. It cleans easily with warm water. The food coloring could potentially stain a light floor so that's something to be mindful of as well.
If you don't mind a little mess, this sensory bin is a great way to get the kids engaged and to teach them about our oceans and who and what lives within them.