We are always collecting things when outdoors…not only to have fun investigating, touching and discussing different and unusual items but also because I often like to turn them into painting or craft tools!
So after a recent trip to the beach we collected some Pandanus Seed Pods and the toddler twosome were so pleased with them. They are really hard with pointy little tips…I knew right away they would make a fantastic sensory painting experience!
It was a really basic activity…perfect for toddlers to really explore as they wanted to. I set up some brown paper for something different to plain white, pulled out our DIY paint sponge pads and stood back to let the creativity begin!
Ruby has become increasingly concerned about her hands being messy lately which is part of her sensory processing disorder. I'm really glad I started lots of messy, sensory play with her early or we might be having even more issues.She really enjoyed this activity though and seemed to like the texture of the hard seed pod and the fact that it had quite a good space for her to grasp and hold as her grip can be a little loose at times…one of the reasons we are also working on fine motor activities so you will see more of those on the blog this year too!
She washed her hands numerous times in the tub I always keep close by but then she extended this action by also washing the seed pods…this kept her busy for quite a while with her little cloth and the water. As soon as hands and seed pods were clean she began painting again. Obviously in her mind the process was complete and she was able to get messy again.
This can be frustrating to watch but I try to remember that it is her way of playing and working through the sensory experiences of an activity…and that is how she enjoys it….it is my job to lay the tools out for her, not direct how she uses them or I run the risk of making her feel she is playing or painting ‘wrong'. So very important to always let a toddler determine their method of creativity and the finished product.
I absolutely love my sponge pads…for those that have asked about them they are honestly so simple to put together.
I buy the budget kitchen sponges (they don't absorb as much as the more expensive brands so work better) and then dampen them a little before placing into recycled trays or containers. I tend to use the Chinese container variety as they have a lid.
Just pour a little paint on the damp sponge in the tray and smooth it over. Now you are ready for stamping! I have used my DIY Cornflour Paint as well as washable acrylic. If you use the acrylic paint you can put the lid on the containers and store them for long periods…you might need to add a little more paint here and there but if you turn the sponges over you will get more use before you need to refill!
Cornflour paint will last for about a week in the fridge but after that you will need to rinse the sponges out or they become smelly!
A Little About Me
Jodie Clarke is an early childhood professional supporting educators who want and need to stay passionate about the work they do! She has 30 years hands-on experience in the early childhood and human services sectors across many different roles.
Jodie is mum to 3 in Australia and has already helped thousands of educators with their work through her popular blog posts, activity ideas, online training and e-books.