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The Mess Mat

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play KitsI think we can all agree that Sensory Play is important for developing a young child’s imagination. Sensory Boxes are a fantastic way to do that. The boxes allow kids to grow their creative play by experiencing their senses of touch, sound, smell, visual awesomeness and occasionally taste. They get a full adventure for their little mind to enjoy, and grow.

We do a lot of Sensory Play on the Mess Mat. We do so much in fact that it has it’s whole own page here on the Blog. {Check out Sensory Play for a definition and all of our adventures.} I think our favorite Sensory Play adventures are Sensory Boxes…

Sensory Boxes

Sensory Boxes are a contained area of stimulant materials, rice, beans, rocks, etc that the child can dig into with very few rules. This is exactly why we do these on The Mess Mat. The Mess Mat has it’s own rules, including, “The Mess stays on the Mat” which comes in very helpful when working out of the Sensory Boxes! I can refer to the Mess Mat Rules and not establish a new set over the box. Make sense?

4 Indoor Play Sensory Boxes

We do love to go outside for Sensory Playtime in the summer when it’s warm out. But unfortunately, in Oregon, it is rainy and cold for 5-6 months of the year, which forces us to move indoors. That’s perfectly fine with me because I have 4 perfect Sensory Boxes we can use on the Mess Mat… next to the heater 😉

Outdoor Explorer Sensory Box

This is a great box to work with during the Spring when you’re gearing up to venture outside. It makes a perfect introductory lesson for bugs and up close discoveries. This box includes Toy Bugs, Rocks, Sand, and 1 cup of green Rainbow Rice. The best part, though, is it also includes Explorer Tools! From a magnifying glass to a bug net your little Explorer will be ready to go when the sun comes out! This Sensory Box Kit is available in the Etsy Shop!

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits

 

Dinosaur Sensory Box

Do you have Dinosaur lovers in your house? Me too! My sons really love this box because they can make the dinosaurs move around from tree to tree, “having lunch together” as they call it. Their imaginations run wild with story play too. Cash makes up great stories and pretends that the dinosaurs are having parties. He can be entertained by this simple Sensory Box for our whole play time! This box includes 2 cups of green Rainbow Rice, Sand, Rocks and 6 Dinosaurs with trees! It’s also available on Etsy!

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits

Boot Camp Sensory Box

I created this box to facilitate a beautiful conversation with our boys about Memorial Day and how we appreciate all the heroes who don’t wear capes. Check out Cash’s Thank You Heroes video on Instagram, made while playing with this box. This box worked really well when I spread it out in our bigger Sensory Box too. This Box comes with Sand and Rocks, Army Men and a fleet of Army vehicles. But the most fun accessory… it includes 2 Army helmets! This Sensory Box Kit is available in the Etsy Shop!

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits

Construction Zone Sensory Box

I must confess, this Sensory Box carries a lot value with it. Even after the Sensory Play is over, the trucks have made their way into playtime all over the house, car and even the bathtub. My boys cannot get enough trucks! They really enjoyed using the excavator to load up the dump truck with sand, and then haul it over behind a pile of rocks. Their tiny little fingers were always going and moving! This Box comes with Rocks, Sand, green Rainbow Rice and 6 Construction Vehicles. It’s also available on Etsy!

4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits4 Sensory Boxes for Indoor Play. Outdoor Sensory Bin, Boot Camp Sensory Bin, Construction Zone Sensory Bin, Bugs Sensory Play, Dinosaur Sensory Bin. Sensory Play Ideas, Sensory Play Kits

Get the Kits!

My love for Sensory Play has even made it into my Etsy Store, Cotton N’ Kandi because I want all kids to have the same fun and adventurous opportunities that mine do! Each Sensory Box described is available as a kit. No box is included, as you really only need one. I use two different sizes here at home: A small clear bin with a lid and our large “2-Player, Climb in” bin. The kits will come packed up in their original packages, and you’ll have to display them in your bin at home yourself. I like the small ones with a lid because we can close it up when we’re done for the day and pull it out all week. I even get a few more {the 6-pack} so that I can have a rotation going!

Save some Money!

Remember to Register for, and Activate your Ebates before shopping on Etsy. You can get 1% CASH BACK every time you shop on Etsy, and even more from other stores if you shop online! Register TODAY and start saving on your Sensory Box Kits!

Register for Ebates to save 1% on Etsy!


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Join us in Toddler School!

Hi There! I’m Kandice
Wife, WAHM and mother to 2 Hooligan boys, sharing my Sweet & Sticky Story of Motherhood and taking my Boys through Toddler School. We love to learn with Sensory Play, Discovery Learning and our favorite Subscription Box, Kiwi Crate! Join us for the fun!

 



The Mess Mat

Pantry Power {Sensory Bin}

Welcome to this week’s Monday Morning Mess Mat for Sensory Play! I “structure” our Sensory Playtime at 10:00am on Mondays at our Mess Mat. I use flying quotations there because the point of Sensory Play is actually that it isn’t highly structured play time. The essence is that kids get to explore freely and stimulate their senses. For Sensory Play time I structure when it happens and how. I use Sensory Bins, Sensory Bags and Discovery Boxes. Although Sensory Play includes any activity that stimulates your child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively. [Source]

You can catch all of our Sensory Activities on the Main Sensory Play Page HERE.

Today’s Sensory Bin is called Pantry Power and uses a mixture of pasta and grains from, guess where? My pantry! This is a great Bin to use when you’re short on ideas or {even forgot to hit up your Dollar Store on Friday} Chances are you have plenty of quality Sensory Play ingredients right inside you cupboards.

Pantry Power Sensory Bin

For this Monday Morning Mess Mat I gathered up what I could find for a combination of:

Dry Noodles
Quinoa
Rice
Walnuts
Marshmallows
I also utilized our Utensils Tub from the Creativity Corner.
Displayed it on the Mess Mat at 10am and the boys were as excited to dig in as ever!

 

Cash went straight for the strainer and Wyatt… straight for the marshmallows

 

 

Cash pretends to eat his “Rice-Cream”

 

 

 

Then we finally start making connections and discovering some possibilities. Cash uses the long spaghetti noodles to try and “thread” the marshmallows. He does pretty well too!

Fine Motor practice = CHECK!

 

 

Wyatt prefers to run his fingers through the small grains and toss them, as well as “splash” in them. He giggles at the sounds they make when they hit the floor. We’re on the Mess Mat so it’s totally cool to make a mess right now, so long as it stays on the mat.

 

 

And there we have another successful Monday Morning Mess Mat for Sensory play!

 


Hi There! I’m Kandice
Wife, WAHM and mother to 2 Hooligan boys making the most out of my Sweet & Sticky {not sure who is who yet… they change daily}
Life is what you make it and when you accept your Sweet & Sticky you can regain control of your chaotic #MomLife.
Before Motherhood I was never late, preached efficiency and even color coded my closet. Life changes after 2 Toddlers {obviously} so now I’m building new Small Systems, Organizing Mom Routines and Charting Schedules that keep our Team productive.
Join me for Toddler School with Cash & Wyatt
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The Mess Mat

Rainbow Tapioca Pearls {Taste-Safe Sensory Play}

The Pearls are here! The Pearls are here! As I gleefully posted to Instagram as soon as they arrived… I have pinned dozens of Taste Safe Water Bead Sensory Play posts from all over Pinterest and I finally get to make my own! Giant Tapioca Pearls are the main ingredient ladies and gentlemen!

These are the little gooey gems you see floating in Boba Tea. I ordered THIS BAG of Rainbow Pearls because I was planning to use them for our Rainbow Mini Unit in Toddler School.  I have already been using Minute Tapioca Pudding Pearls on The Mess Mat for quite some time now for our Incredible Ooze, but they are nothing like these! These are big, squishy pearls of sensory bliss.

This lesson, as it coordinates to my Mini Rainbow Unit for Toddler School is purely about the sensory play. Lets get our tiny little fingers into these sticky, slimy, colorful beauties and see what happens! I actually got myself up early and cut my Blogging Block short so that I could prep these and have them cooled for the boys by 10am.

How to make Tapioca Pearls

Yes, you do have to do a bit more for these than the microwave ones. The instructions are on the package and it is pretty easy. You must boil 10 cups of water per bag of pearls. {Honestly I was a bit underwhelmed by the quantity. All those other posts I’ve seen where kids are up to their elbows in pearls must have used 10 bags! I honestly did expect there to be more. One bag only yields about 3 cups of actual pearls. Nonetheless I was still excited to get them into action. I boiled them and drained them, then gave them plenty of time to cool for the boys.

*Noteworthy- don’t let them sit in the strainer! The’ll get all sticky if they get too dry. Remember, it is WATER fun, so after putting them into the play tub add another cup of water and they’ll plump back up again.

I presented them in the tub on the Mess Mat, then went to wake up the boys…

…and our Adventure begins….

Wyatt dove right in. “A gooey MESS! Yes Mom! Yes!”

Cash needed some convincing.

He wasn’t too sure about this one, which I think was because of the sticky-ness. After I added more water to make them slippery, Cash was much more interested.

 

I think too Cash just didn’t really know what to do with them.
I remembered his initial reaction to the Rainbow Rice was to SORT it into the book we used.

 

 I had picked up some little pill box organizers from The Dollar Tree {Mom Supply Favorite} which happened to be Rainbow colored. Cash knew exactly what to to then! He pinched out little pearls and dropped them into the proper color container.
After awhile I upped the challenge and asked if he could “build” a Rainbow in the ice cube tray by putting pearls in the correct order of colors. {Challenge accepted Mom}
He immediately tells me, “Mom! There’s no blue!” Way to pass the test buddy!
After much Rainbow sorting and squishy playing I let the boys get out the kitchen utensils box with the spoons and spatulas. They played for hours and even came back to it later in the day.
I froze the pearls in a gallon freezer bag, so we’ll be able to do this again!

If you want a few more Rainbow Lesson ideas you can check out our whole Rainbow Mini Unit in Toddler School or you can grab your own bag of Tapioca Pearls for your own endless Sensory Play fun! These are quite a few varieties!


*This post contains affiliate links

The Mess Mat

Heart Stamping {Pudding Painting Fun}

The intent, was to of course make Valentine’s for February. That plan did not come full circle… sorry grandparents. Apparently, the boys have a much different interpretation of how things should go when mom breaks out the pudding paint… I blame our Handmade Christmas festivities… {with a big ole’ grin}

Anyway, they still had fun, and Cash did manage to make one heart before scooping up all of the pudding by hand and running it towards the bathtub… No Mess Mat rules apply apparently when there is pudding paint involved! They do love it so…

Here is our adventure….

Look how nice and lovely I present it for them to wake up to on the Mess Mat… I even stamp down a few role modeled, precious hearts to inspired them….

 
 Without even noticing my heart stampers {made of toilet paper rolls I so meticulously crushed and folded in all the right places} Wyatt immediately sticks his little hand straight into the pudding. 

He then starts liking it like ice-cream {there’s pudding on the end} and shaking it because Mom has obviously hidden something inside this stupid thing that I’m supposed to “discovery” {I didn’t} 

 “What gives Mom?! No hidden treasure? I’m just supposed to bang it on this paper? Deal!” 
– your intellectual son Wyatt

We have a mini breakthrough… I think he noticed they’re hearts! 

And then he crushes them…

 “Hey Mom, what’s brother doing?” Thank goodness I’m saved by the 2-Year old! {How many moms say that sincerely?} 

Cash plucks on over and politely begins stamping away… {phew! Mom efforts saved right?}
 

The Valentine Craft heathens earn there way here…

 

 “All Pudding Painting should always happen HERE Mom! Understood?”
-your precious, angel, snowflake son Wyatt

Lesson learned… sorry I tried to stamp Valentines…. perhaps there is a more precious snowflake out there who can handle pudding painting without ending up in the bathtub… which is apparently where we obviously should have started! #familytradition
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where we make a mess every Monday Morning
Thank you for stopping in! 
The Mess Mat

Learning the color RED {Sensory Play Jello}

So the boys got to play with Jello on the Mess Mat. We’re working on Rainbows, and Colors, and of
course, it’s February so the color spectrum fits. They have actually never played with Jello before, lots of pudding in the past but this will be a first! I’m not really sure what I’m expecting to get out of it either… I just think it will be fun and give us some good RED discussions maybe? We’ll see..

I didn’t have this one out for them when they woke up. Instead I made sure they were both in disposable diapers, and minus as many clothes as possible to turn red. I also added some sprinkles for fun As they eagerly await my presentation on the Mess Mat, they’re not really sure where to start. But like every other morning, I suppose they just know to dig their hands in!

And we’re off! Cash breaks the ice with the first poke. Wyatt, not too sure, follows Big Brother’s lead…

Look at this kid’s face! He loves it!

Wyatt’s astonishment when he sees Cash got some on him is classic and precious!

I’m sure somewhere in here I talked about the color Red… And Cash definitely described it to me as cold and squashy. So we’ve done something educational right? 
 

We did get very slippery, so please do be careful. Despite our lacking educational gains I am confident when I say that the boys enjoyed playing. This might have been Wyatt’s favorite Mess Mat yet! Cash still asks to play in the Rainbow Rice, which was clearly his favorite! 

Even though these are a bit blurry they’re still my favorite. Look at how much Wyatt LOVES this! His giggles and squeals will forever be a cherished memory for me. 
 

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