The main problem with television, tablets, and computer screens is that introducing these gadgets early on will deprive a child of sensory play. Sensory play, which is described as a kind of play where children use their sense of touch, hearing, taste, smell, and seeing to explore and to experiment.
Sensory play has been proven to improve a child’s fine and gross motor skills, boost creativity, and improve mental and emotional health. It is one of the major forms of play that children should be exposed to to bolster their development, yet modern technology is slowly taking that away from our children.
On top of that, most school activities have the child simply sitting at his or her desk for hours at a time, with little play. Since the school summer holidays are coming up, I decided to put together some great indoor school holiday activities that include a lot of sensory play. Your kids will absolutely love it.
DIY Play Dough
DIY play dough is perhaps the most popular sensory play thing out there. It helps children become more creative, and develops their fine motor skills. On top of that, play dough has a fun, smooth, almost sticky texture that really fascinates children, and you can even make it into any colour of your choosing.
Just use water, flour, salt, and a sprinkling of cream of tartar to make your dough, with a few drops of food colouring to give it the colour that you prefer. You can easily make anything from rainbow play dough to glittery space play dough depending on how you adjust the colour.
Coloured rice or noodles
Another great indoor activity for the school holidays is to play with coloured raw rice or cooked noodles. Just toss the rice or noodles in food colour, and you will be able to make a great coloured sensory play toy. Add cups, spoons, and other implements so that your child can make believe and enjoy their interesting textures.
Corn meal mini sand box
Your child may have a sand box outdoors, but indoors, they may need something that is a little cleaner. Corn meal inside a wide shoe box or in a sensory box is a great way to make a mini sand box. Corn meal looks and feels just like real sand, but it is edible to boot.
Finger painting is a favourite activity of my brother, who likes flexing his creative muscles. All you need is a big piece of paper, some newspaper to protect your surfaces, and some washable, non-toxic water colours that are specifically formulated for finger painting. Finger paint has a more gel-like consistency from regular water colours, and are less likely to stain fingers and nails.
Watch this cool video of two kids finger painting with their dad:
Another sensory activity you can do indoors is to “paint” in shaving cream. Just get a plastic tray and fill it with shaving cream, and have the children trace their drawings onto it. If they need to erase their drawings, they can just swirl the shaving cream around to cover it up.