Tag Archives: sensory play

O is For Olives – Eating Our Way Through the ABCs

In these days of sensory awareness, I’ve noticed that one medium for learning and sensory experience we often overlook is our taste buds.

Did you know that O tastes salty (olives), and sweet (oranges, Oreos), and mushy (oatmeal) and spicy (onions)?

We worked a bit with food last week while studying the letter O, and we had great fun with olives.


A pretty simple supply list – wooden skewer, styrofoam bowl or Play-Doh, can of whole black olives, and a can of whole Manzanilla (green) olives.

Bella HATES olives, so she wasn’t having any of her taste buds tantalized with these, but I got Noah to at least lick one of the black olives.  He wasn’t too impressed, but he was happy to play with them.  Olives do have a unique feel to them, slick and wet and easy to crush.  We turned this session into patterning practice.

Just take a wooden skewer and poke it through an overturned styrofoam bowl (or you can stick it in a clump of Play-Doh).  Then start the pattern off by skewering a green olive followed by a black one and have your child continue the pattern.  Change this up with more difficult patterns if your child seems ready.

Ah love this (said in my best Southern drawl)!  (Get it – olive this)?

Play-Doh and the Letter J

Play-Doh activities are by far the easiest for me to get Noah interested in.  This is the Play-Doh that we put glitter in a few weeks ago.  So fun!  Here we just pulled out the alphabet stamps and made impressions into the Play-Doh.

While we were at it, I pulled out the alphabet Play-Doh mats you can grab for free from http://homeschoolcreations.com/preschoolalphabet.html.

Today we start a new week and a new start.  I’m really struggling to get out of the teacher mode and into the “lets have fun and see what we can learn in the process mode.”  How inefficient, don’t you think?  Hope with me for the best, and I’ll let you know how it goes.



Finger Painting Without the Mess

I saw this idea on Pinterest, and it was right up my alley. I loved the combination of sensory play, fine motor, color vocabulary opportunities, color mixing concepts, and best of all easy clean-up.

 Pinned Image


Since we’re on G this week, I used yellow and blue paint to make green.  I never even went to the actual post for directions, just sort of put together my own version.  This was what I consider a very successful activity.  The sensation and visual effect of the paint moving underneath the plastic surface was actually very calming and relaxing, kind of mesmerizing.  You know how certain things just feel good?  Well, this just felt good!  You might just catch me doing this when no one else is around.

Here’s what it looked like when we started:

Activity:  Ziplock bag no-mess painting.


1.  Quart-size plastic sealable bag.

2.  Washable tempera paint.

3.  White paper.

4.  Painter’s tape.


1.  Tape white paper to table with painter’s tape (no residue) for contrast.

2.  Put enough paint in the sealable bag to thoroughly coat the bottom once spread.

3.  Seal the bag with as little air remaining as possible.

4.  Tape the bag on top of the white paper, folding down the seal underneath the bag to protect it from being opened.  (I skipped this step in the picture.)

5.  Show your child how to move the paint around with his fingers by pressing on the plastic, mixing the colors if there is more than one.

Here’s what it looked like when we were finished:

I started out just expecting to talk with Noah about how yellow and blue make green, but I saw some extension activities pretty quickly emerging.  We talked about lines and circles.  I modeled making a circle, and Noah copied mine.  We worked on making X’s too.  I think this will be an activity we will repeat many times to practice letters, shapes, numbers, you name it!!!!  Later on in the day I got the bag out again and gave it to my 8-year-old to practice his cursive on.  I gave him a card with all the cursive letters on it and asked him to duplicate them on the bag.  He only got to G before he was tired of it, but I’m thinking some of  my other children would have been happy to go the whole way through.   Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll have him go back and try manuscript letters since those are easy for him.

Incidentally, I had my other toddlers do this with us, and they really enjoyed it.  They were getting awfully curious about how the paint got in the bag and hence how to get the paint out of the bag, so I had to really keep my eye on them.

Another fun idea I saw was to put glitter in with the paint.  That’s just too irresistible, isn’t it?

Gotta run – off to find the glitter.