If you have a toddler who puts EVERYTHING in their mouth, this is the post for you. Sensory activities for toddlers are engaging and fun – but what can you do that's safe if your toddler eats the sensory activity?!
We have a list of kitchen sensory activities that are fun for including your toddler or preschooler in food preparation, but sometimes it's exciting to try something out of the ordinary – finger painting, cloud dough or sensory story play…
Here are 5 Edible Sensory Activities with Links to the Recipes.
I love the idea of sensory play – always have and I have seen some amazing posts around the Internet of shaving foam, glow in the dark bath paints etc… but I have a serious problem – well I don't my 16 month old T does – she eats everything and anything, shaving foam included (yes we found that out when I tried sensory play for the first time in the winter and given half the chance will still do so) so I've had to be very adaptive especially as I also have a almost 3 year old who wants to join in with everything as well.
Instead of the standard sensory play which could be toxic and finger painting that a lot of toddlers can do by the time they get to 16 months we've had to be creative with our sensory play.
Non-toxic Cloud Dough for young toddlers
First alternative we tried was Cloud Dough – the standard cloud dough is made with baby oil – which wasn't something that I wanted T to ingest so instead of baby oil I added vegetable oil and then to make it smell nicer into the vegetable oil I added some vanilla essence – vanilla (and a slight hint of vegetable oil) non-toxic cloud dough.
Here is a recipe that's even gluten free.
Edible Finger Painting
Finger painting is a lot of fun especially the texture and colors but with store bought finger paints they all say not before 3 and although they also say non-toxic I really don't want to risk it so homemade edible finger paints is great – made with corn starch and water it's jello like consistency is amazing to touch and can be colored with food coloring to make it a visual sensory experience as well.
We've been bringing stories alive by creating story bins for them.
With the Goldilocks story bin – rolled oats made an excellent base and fitted brilliantly in with the story and when we had finished playing with bears and dolls in the bin. I added some water and the experience of playing with rolled oats as it goes from solid state to full blown porridge is great for young toddlers to experience.
With the Commotion in the Ocean we made an Ocean Sensory Play Bin. Homemade playdough was used to create rocks, oats as pebbles on the beach and blue jello mixed with water as the ocean.
Just choose items that are big enough not to be chokeable and you have a bin safe for toddlers who want to taste the story.
Alternative to Shaving Foam
The experience of shaving foam is wonderful it forms peaks, you can use it to mix colours with and it's a “clean” messy play as it leaves everything cleaner once you have cleaned up – however T will gobble it up so this is a no go for us. Instant pudding mix is a perfect alternative, it forms peaks and you can add different substances to make it an interesting sensory experience, how about some ice cubes to help cool down in this summer heat.
Homemade edible puffy paint
Puffy paint is wonderful, you can buy it but yet again it's not suitable for under 3's and the mix of substances is not good – for older children you can make up your own with shaving foam and white glue, but this won't be good for the young toddlers – instead a mix of flour, water and baking soda creates the same effect and is wonderful to play with as well. Once you have it painted (in the case of older children) you can then microwave it and it will puff up.