Veronika is at the age where’s she’s starting to understand opposites: empty and full, tall and short, loud and soft, etc. Here was a fun pair to play with in a sensory way: wet and dry!
We started with a shallow tray of dry oatmeal on the kitchen floor. She immediately ran curious fingers through the flakes of oats and loved the sensation. We talked about how the material was very dry and soft.
I asked her to help me pour a little water from a measuring cup onto the oats. Whoops, the first cup went all over the floor! So I carefully poured a second cup of water into the oats without toddler “assistance”.
Now they began to clump together and grow softer. But oh no, she didn’t like how it stuck to her fingers!
We rinsed her off, dumped that batch, and then poured in a new dry material. I had intended to use cornmeal, but was all out. Dry breadcrumbs worked in a pinch! Again, she was immediately digging through, as we talked about the dry coarse crumbs.
Again I poured in some water. Now the bread crumbs expanded and grew softer. Again she preferred dry to wet!
Another clean off and another dump. For the final experiment, I poured dry cornstarch into the tray. She loved stirring through this with a giant spoon!
I added water and of course now we had classic ooblek. She didn’t want to touch it, but she sure liked watching the way I could grab a solid clump and it would drip down through my fingers.
I would definitely repeat this activity with other materials in the future (even wet and dry paper!), because it was a great way to teach the concepts of wet and dry.