As much as I love the idea of sensory bins for my two year old, I don’t love the idea of cleaning up the tiny pieces of rice/sand/beans that will inevitably wind up scattered all over my floor. Last year, when visiting big sister’s preschool classroom, I saw that the teacher had a sensory bin filled with those plastic pouch tops and I thought, why reinvent the wheel? If it’s good enough to hold the attention of 12 three year olds, surely no mess sensory play can work for my toddler.
Turns out, I was right! We had some time to kill this morning before going to pick up my daughter at preschool, and rather than play trains (or, let him play trains while I did laundry) I decided to break out the pouch tops, some bowls, some measuring cups, and a ladle.
First we just scooped the caps from one container to the next and played “kitchen”, but from there we were able to do so much more! We sorted the caps by color, counted out different numbers of caps, and at one point, even used them like finger puppets. I won’t lie…I also had some fun with these. I set up a couple of different bowls around the kitchen and worked on my basketball skills.
After about an hour, it was time to go pick up my four year old and my boy was so sad! He loved this activity, and I loved how relatively clean it was. Yes, there were caps scattered all over the floor at one point, but they were super easy to pick up and bonus – no vacuuming or sweeping required.
Set up: SUPER easy – with one caveat. It took me a few months to save up enough pouch caps to do this activity. I know some people use reusable pouches, and some companies don’t use the same type of caps, so I would recommend asking some friends to save theirs as well if you want to gather the supplies in a short amount of time.
Length of time needed: as long as it holds your child’s attention. In our case, over an hour!
Mess factor: not nearly as messy as other sensory activities.
Fun factor: I couldn’t believe how much my toddler loved playing with these caps. Who needs expensive toys when your kid can literally play with garbage (recyclables)? I think my four year old would have enjoyed playing with these, too – I’ll try some extension no mess sensory activities with her and report back!