Quite why it has taken me so long to work out that this is a good idea, I don’t know. But sensory play in the bath is a genius idea that suddenly came to me one cold afternoon! After looking online I am clearly not the only one with this brainwave and now have lots of ideas for more sensory baths!
Alice has a tendency to get very messy. She loves muck, dirt, anything she can squeeze and let whatever substance it is, drip between her fingers. This was happening with her food one lunch time last week. It was “squishy clay” apparently (it wasn’t, it was beans mixed with water…). I thought we needed to get outside and do some proper messy play as she clearly needs that time but the weather was cold and drizzly and although that doesn’t stop us being outside, it makes messy play much harder due to all the layers and bulky coats.
So I thought- the bath! They needed an actual-get-yourself-clean-bath anyway. I poured in two boxes of cornflour and added some warm water to make the fabulous not quite solid/liquid consistency (non-Newtonian fluid). Then popped in Alice and Joseph. I suggested they left their underwear on, which in itself was very exciting. I thought about giving them some spoons to play with but actually they were more than happy stamping, squeezing and drizzling the cornflour all over each other. It was a very funny, exciting and different experience which they loved. Lots of smiles, giggles and squeals of delight rang from the bathroom that afternoon!
They then had a shower to wash all the cornflour away and off their hair and bodies. This also helped to clean the bath.
Since then we’ve also had coloured, smelly baths (food colouring and essential oils). This was our blue bath:
The bathroom smelt of spearmint and the water colour evoked wonderful language opportunities like “it’s blue like the sea” and fantastic questions like, “why is it really blue altogether but when I pour it it looks clear?”
As a side note the water didn’t stain their skin, hair or the white bath which was good!
I really enjoy setting up these sensory baths, as do the children, and I think they will begin to be built into our weekly rhythm or for times when they need something focused but without constraint.