Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sensory Balloons: An Easy Toddler Activity

This is a brilliant activity for toddlers. I take zero credit for said brilliance. All credit goes to my good friend and fellow mom, Julie. (You can find out more about her brilliance by visiting her blog, Hi, Lo.) Then when you're done, take five minutes to make this activity for your child. That's seriously all it will take. I promise. 

On-screen I realize these look like ordinary, nearly-deflated balloons. But no my friends, these balloons are hiding a secret inside! Each one has been partially filled with a different dry good (rice, flour, sugar, coffee beans, etc). Each one feels completely different. Squishy, crunchy, smooshy, smooth.

They are cheap and easy to make yet incredibly enticing for little hands. As soon as I presented these to Lilly she was in heaven. We've spent quite a bit of time today discussing the different textures and colors, smooshing them together, tossing them to each other. They're addictive.

Especially the one filled with flour, which is suspiciously similar to the stress balls that were a popular swag item at the medical conferences once I attended for clients. I may keep the flour-filled one for myself...

Anyway, here's how you do it:

Materials:
Latex balloons, ideally, in a variety of colors
1 funnel
Various dried goods such as rice, sugar, coffee beans or grounds, farro or couscous, flour. Check your cupboards and use your imagination.

Instructions:

  1. Grab one of the balloons and attach it to the spout on the funnel
  2. Add a couple of tablespoons of your first dry ingredient to the funnel and gently shake it to get it to go into the balloon. Add more if needed but do not overfill. Gently press out any trapped air and tie a knot on the end of the balloon. 
  3. Repeat with your remaining balloons and dry ingredients. 
Have fun! 

OBLIGATORY NOTE OF CAUTION: Balloons are potential choking hazard for children so please only do this activity when you are watching your child closely and store the balloons in a safe place out of reach. 


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