Tea Scented Ice Sensory Play

Scented Ice Play (7)

We’ve been busy with ice lately during a heat wave, and today we added an olfactory element to the fun: ice cubes scented with tea! You’ll want strongly scented teas for the best results with this activity. Think flavors like cinnamon, maple, ginger, mint, or other bold scents.

Scented Ice Play (1)

The night before, I brewed strong cups of 3 tea varieties, using 3 or 4 tea bags for each mug of hot water. Let cool and then pour into the compartments of an ice cube tray.

Scented Ice Play (2)

Partly to add a visual sensory element to the game and partly just so I would remember which cube was which, I also color-coded the three different teas with food coloring. Yellow was for peppermint, red for cinnamon apple, and blue for maple ginger.

In the morning, it was HOT out on our patio and the ice was frozen solid, the perfect combination.

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The ice cubes came out of the tray within moments. I held each different scent up to Veronika’s nose in turn. Look how happy the maple ginger made her!

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She loved leaning in for a big whiff of each, asking for “more more” insistently since at first the cubes were too cold for her to touch and lift.

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Then she wanted to take a lick! She loved the peppermint best.

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As the ice melted, the yellow, blue, and red coloring began to trickle off. I couldn’t decide if I was glad I’d used color or not. The kids were more into the smells and tastes anyway, not the sensory look of the colors, and it just meant messier fingers. But oh well!

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And then they discovered that the ice on the hot patio melted in a matter of seconds.

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I guess this disproves the theory that watching ice melt is dull!

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Both kids loved smelling the tea and swirling the cubes and tasting until the last drop of ice had melted.

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A perfect sensory experience for a hot morning.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (11)

There’s more to this activity than just the sensory fun of shaving cream or the artistic fun of colors and “painting”; half the fun was doing the activity right on the tabletop!

I squirted about half a can of shaving cream onto the kids’ table, which immediately piqued everybody’s interest, Veronika and big brother alike.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (1)

The curiosity grew once I added drops of food coloring throughout.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (2)

Now it was time for the real sensory fun to begin! I demonstrated for Veronika that she could put her hands right in the mixture, either to swirl the colors around or just to get messy.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (3)

Interestingly, she was hesitant at first, but soon a little finger dipped in. Foamy!

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (4)

The sensation must have made her quite happy because it merited a little swirling dance.

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After that, though, I couldn’t quite tell if she liked the shaving cream or was a little afraid of it. She did lots of delicate dabbing, but never got as messy as I had anticipated.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (9)

Big brother Travis tried his hand gladly and liked creating “animal footprints” through the shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (7)

Veronika preferred just having some of the shaving cream on her palms. She smooshed her hands together and admired both the creaminess and the color left behind. Then it was time to wash! And the shaving cream mixture wipes off of the table like a dream.

Shaving Cream Fingerpaint (10)

Overall, this wasn’t the best version of fingerpainting we’ve done as far as producing art. But it was still a great sensory experience.


Pool Noodle Seahorse

Pool Noodle Seahorse (5)

It was time for the last of our pool noodle crafts this morning, and it turned out to be the biggest and best yet!

To start, curl the end of one long pool noodle so it resembles a seahorses’s curlicue tail. Secure with garden Velcro strips.

Pool Noodle Seahorse (1)

For the head, curl down the top 10 inches or so of a second pool noodle; secure with a garden strip. We then glued on two foam eyes (alternatively, use sticky-back foam and eliminate the need for glue).

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Travis loved helping with the mane; snip a piece of craft foam to create fringe, then make a slit in the seahorse’s head with scissors and insert the foam.

Pool Noodle Seahorse (2)

Now tape the head and tail pieces together securely with duct tape. Our original seahorse seemed a bit too tall, so I cut about 6 inches from each noodle and then taped them. Now it was the perfect height. Travis was immediately galloping his seahorse around!

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Little sister loved it so much that we needed to make a mini version from just one pool noodle!

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As with the Ball Toss¬†game we made, yes you could use the seahorse in a real pool, but the kids were ecstatic even on dry land. So don’t feel like you need to wait for water before making this craft!