Plasticine, salt paste, etc. They are sensory masses that we buy or manufacture for the little ones to play. But behind the activity of modeling figures or kneading plasticine, sensory stimulation occurs in children, which has multiple benefits, such as capturing information from the environment and stimulating brain activity. At home, making clay, paints, clay and all kinds of masses for modeling and creating is an incredible success. It is common to hear at home “Mom, what clay do we prepare today?”
But what if you don’t like to prepare this type of pasta ? If you don’t enjoy adding food coloring to everything you prepare with your child (food coloring has something very addictive …), or mixing flour with salt and water (the basis of many concoctions), etc. etc.?
Well , nothing happens, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING .
All these types of activities have to appeal to young and old . The moms or dads who make these pasta is why we also enjoy it (well, I don’t really do anything, it’s Jan who mixes everything, but depending on age you have to be present and help to finish mixing the dough well). And there is no use preparing a thousand plasticines reluctantly and then cleaning up grumbling because “I already knew that this would end up stuck everywhere …”.
You already know that children are sponges, especially of our emotional states, so if we do it out of obligation and without joy they will know it and, surely, they will not enjoy the activity so much.
Creating these types of subjects are pretexts for the little ones to carry out sensory activities at home . If we lived in the middle of nature, surely we would not need any of this, because it already offers a lot of materials for sensory stimulation.
We mix water from a stream with earth and we have mud, the moss that grows in shady areas also offers incredible tactile and sensory perceptions, depending on which mountain we are on, the earth has different colors, with which by the way it can be painted, as I showed you here.
However, today we live in clean, aseptic houses and far from places that can offer us all this variety of tactile perceptions. Therefore, preparing sensory dough is a great idea so that the little ones can use their hands and perceive different textures.
But if you do not like to prepare these things, or you do not have time, or you want to look for “magic recipes” do not hurry. That is precisely what I wanted to offer you today. A list of activities and alternatives that you can do without having to “put your hands in the dough” !
- You can look for forests, mountains or sand parks (not asphalt or rubber) and let it be your little one who believes. Always carry a small bottle of water in your bag so that anywhere you can create a delicious clay.
- Invite your little one to the kitchen, who will surely enjoy preparing cakes, muffins or pizzas. Mine does not need to invite him, day in and day out he also asks to prepare a cake. We barely make them without sugar and with whole wheat flour, so we already have breakfast prepared daily. It is also ideal to prepare a pizza dough. It is very elastic and enjoying the beauty of kneading the ball, stretching the dough …
- Look for different types of trees and touch their bark. The trunk of the olive tree has nothing to do with that of cork trees, for example. At home you can also have different types of wood.
- You can buy playdough from time to time.
- It encourages your little ones to walk barefoot, both indoors and in the mountains, a garden … perceiving a tiled floor, a wooden one, the earth or the grass underfoot already offers us a variety of tactile perceptions.
- Gardening or keeping plants at home and transplanting them when necessary.
- You can offer different types of fruits and vegetables to touch, squeeze, mash …
- Go to the beach, play with the sand, the water …
And if you can be close to the little one while handling all kinds of masses or objects … all the better. So you can go on describing the texture, naming what they touch, their ingredients, their smell, their qualities (cold, hot, dry, wet, etc.).
As you can see, it is not necessary to prepare anything at all, and much less if you do not enjoy it. It is about being attentive to the opportunities that exist in your environment and letting children perceive them with their hands, feet and whatever they deem appropriate.
If you want more information, here is a very interesting article about how sensory play can help you learn language.
And here another one about sensory play in nature