I have accumulated a lot of materials for sensory play throughout my years of working in Early Childhood Education, but I have found some really amazing ways for you to start your sensory play resource stock pile!
I recently discovered the magical land of Value Village because of Behka from @mama.in.a.mad.house, and the bargains on sensory resources are AMAZING! You just have to have an open mind and think like a child when looking at the fine plastic bags filled with nic nacs.
I put together some great examples of some simple Valentines Play Trays that you can re create for your little ones. Valentines Day lands on a “school night” this year so maybe even give yourself some grace (weekdays are hard and they will be doing SO much during the day at school, thank you teachers!) and let your children know that Saturday after breakfast they will have some fun Valentines Day activities for you all to do together.
**These play trays I’ve put together are more appropriate for toddlers, pre-schoolers and kinders, younger children always need supervision when given sensory set ups. These trays can be easily modified for infants, just have pink and red toys that are hazardous on some funky trays for them to explore with their senses!**
Busy Basket – Valentines Day Cooking
Materials needed ( Some materials were thrifted from Value Village, some from Dollarama and the pots and cooking utensils are from Bed Bath and Beyond)
- Children’s pots and pans
- Children’s Cooking utensils
- Red and Pink loose parts
Just put this fun tray on a coffee table or in their play kitchen and see what Valentines goodies they will whip up for you!
Heart Cookie Tray Counting
Materials Needed (all purchased from Dollarama)
- Cupcake tray
- Enough loose parts to fit the number of spots ( look to picture for example)
A tray like this is really great for developing language, number and shape recognition.
When they are exploring the tray you can name the item, name the shape count how many and then what order they go in from smallest to largest in the pan spots.
Homemade Valentines Day Playdough Sensory Trays
Materials Needed ( Thrifted finds from Value Village, Poka Dot Tray is from Ikea , loose parts and silicone cupcake mold from the Dollarama, cookie cutters from Homesense Canada)
- Play Trays
- Loose parts Valentines themed
- Valentines cookie cutters
To Make the Playdough you add to a mixing bowl 2 cups of flour, 2 Table spoons of Oil, 1 table spoon of lemon juice and 1 cup of warm water, add more if needed for texture. Food colouring is added to your liking.
These Playdough trays are really easy to put together and will give you around 45 to an hour of play options. It’s so fun to see what your little ones will create with all of these materials and loose parts!
Colour Recognition/ Sorting Valentines Trays
- Trays with separation ( the wooden tray is from a Melissa and doug toy set)
- Loose parts and toys from their collections ( pink and red)
These trays will always a hit with your little ones and the best part is you can pick bits and pieces from all their existing toy sets to make the colouring and theme of your trays. They might choose to build with the pieces or mix them up, surprisingly they will find so many creative ways to play with these “loose parts” set ups.
My Little Pony Small World Sensory Tray
( this is for older children that are tempted to put materials in their mouths, again ALWAYS supervise sensory play)
- Tray with lipped sides
- textured base ( this can literally be anything, I have white sand, pink decorative filler, mini white plastic diamonds and white glass beads all from the Dollarama)
- My little ponies ( these were all purchased from the Dollarama also)
Anytime you make a Small World Sensory Tray make sure your okay with the fact that during the play most likely all of the materials will get mixed together. To see all the fun your child will have with these Small World set ups is truly something magical!
Last but not least something good to make and eat….
Valentines Day Cookie Decorating Kit From Walmart $5.00 and peanut free!
Enjoy your Valentines Day playing with the ones you love most!
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My Little Lamb