Sensory “Salads”

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We found an old play set with components to make a pretend salad: fake lettuce, croutons, olives, etc. Veronika loved it so much I thought it would be fun to help her make a few more “salads”. These two methods were quite different, but both so enjoyable.

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For the first version, I put together odds and ends from the craft bin that she could toss like the ingredients of a salad. We had tissue paper “lettuce”, cotton ball “croutons”, strips of ribbon (bell peppers perhaps?) and pieces of crepe paper.

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I gave her toy tongs as well as real tongs to toss the ingredients around. The tongs were arguably as interesting as the sensory materials!

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Then we moved on to an edible sensory version. The night before, I made a batch of Kool-Aid dyed pasta. To keep it edible, just in case Veronika wanted to take a nibble, I diluted each pack of Kool-Aid in 2 tablespoons hot water (as opposed to rubbing alcohol). Place 1 cup of cooked spaghetti in a gallon-sized zip-top bag for each color that you’ve prepared. Pour in, seal, and shake to distribute the color evenly. Open the bags and let the pasta dry out overnight.

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In the morning, I heaped together all the colors of noodles in a craft bin for a big “salad”, and once again handed over the tongs.

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This was an instant hit! She needed a little help at first since the noodles were sticky, but then loved scooping them into a smaller bowl.

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Big brother immediately needed in on the action, too. He soon had created a big spaghetti “cake”!

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Then he wanted to try snipping the spaghetti with scissors, which is how bits began ending up all over the floor.

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Veronika, meanwhile, was narrating her play, something about trucks and cars. She was pleased as punch with whatever she thought she was “making”.

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And then she discovered the joy of simply throwing the spaghetti on the floor to make it go splat.

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My two crazy sous-chefs did then decide to sample the salad. “It’s tasty!” Veronika announced. They told me blue was the yummiest. I was glad it was just a few nibbles.

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Clean-up was a bit more of a pain than usual. Next time I would probably do this activity outside and hose down the patio afterward, or lay an old shower curtain liner on the floor if doing it indoors. But worth it? Yes!

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