1 year old

Quiet Time Sensory Bin


The time has come that Ethan is ready to stop napping, at nearly 4 he has decided that he no longer needs an afternoon nap, but he definitely still needs some relaxing activities to wind down after a busy morning.  So we'll be looking for lots of quiet time fun that will hopefully make our days a bit less hectic, starting with this quiet time sensory bin.

What says quiet time better than a bit of afternoon tea?  Calming teas like camomile and lavender were the inspiration behind this sensory bin.  I used rice as a base, some camomile tea, yellow food colouring and lavender flowers.

We started by steeping two bags of camomile tea in a small quantity of boiled water.  I left it for quite a while to get as strong as possible and for the water to cool down before pouring it into the bag of rice.

Then I added a few drops of yellow food colouring to the rice, sealed up the bag tightly and let Ethan spend a few minutes smushing it all around to spread out the colour.  This could have been a sensory activity in itself, Ethan loved playing with the rice in the bag and watching it change colour.

Next we picked some lavender flowers from the garden, then took the little flowers off the stem and put them into a bowl.  Ethan loved this part, the smell of the lavender and picking off the flowers as quickly as he could.  It's great for his fine motor control.

We then poured the rice into a container to dry, once it was dry we added the lavender flowers and that was it.  We found a tea pot, tea cup, saucer and spoon to play with and we were all set.

I sat Ethan and Ivy outside in the garden and let them quietly explore and play with the rice.  Ethan really liked scooping up the rice with their little spoon and stirring it around pretending that he was making tea.

They also both loved filling up the tea pot which had a big enough spout to pour the rice back through.  It made a lovely relaxing sound as the rice trickled through and back into the bin.  Ivy loved just grabbing handfuls of rice and watching the grains slip through her fingers, she could have done that all afternoon.

It was a really lovely relaxing activity for the kids, and it meant that I was able to get a few things done while they played quietly.  Next time I would make them each their own individual sensory bin straight away to avoid any squabbles about sharing, but otherwise it was a definite success!

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