30 Days to Hands on Play: Sensory Tub Play

Day 9: Sensory Tub Play

This should be plenty of fun for all ages, depending on what goes into the tub!

You will need:

  • a shallow cardboard box / plastic tub/ wide basket
  • a range of dry, safe, sensory items to go inside
  • cups/ spoons/ cardboard tubes/ egg cartons etc

Play prompt: 
Fill a container with your choice of sensory materials. Lay out some tools to explore it with such as cups, spoons and tubes. Introduce it to your child and play alongside them! 

Enjoy at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted play time together! Don’t forget to turn everything off!

What we did: We filled a shallow cardboard box with lots of sensory materials that I store in the cupboard for this type of play. We do this often and it’s one of our staple go-to activities to fill time and keep them occupied, so we have quite a store of things that we reuse regularly.

In our box: dry pasta shapes (lots of different types), glass stones, coloured pom poms, stone pebbles, lots of varieties of dry beans.

Other suggestions:

  • add: cotton balls, pipe cleaners, ping pong balls, rice, lentils, bark chippings, dry or silk leaves,    twigs, corks, bottle tops, sequins, cotton reels, small scraps of material, small tree discs/ cookies. 
  • extend: See our Fairy Sensory Tub and Dinosaur Small World for more ideas and ways to extend the play.
  • adapt: for younger children use larger items that will be safe e.g. duplo blocks

Please Note: I am not wanting to suggest food wastage here. However, if you know you will reuse the pasta/ beans for the foreseeable future (we have had some of ours over a year) then I feel it’s fine for this purpose of playful investigation. Try and mix it up with non-food items and use it again!

Pop was a little poorly today so C. got to play with this all by herself. She scooped and poured, and used the spoon to transfer items to little cups. Then she went and got the cardboard tubes and started to slide all the items down them which she loved. She got her little play people too and made up an elaborate game about them climbing the ladders, going down the slides and landing in the colourful sea!

What does YOUR child want to do?!

[Please remember, this is just a play prompt. You are not being asked to replicate any of the ideas exactly from this 30 Day Challenge! We hope to spark an idea for an activity and give an opportunity to try something a bit different each day and the emphasis is very much on having relaxed, good fun and a really engaged play session.]

Let us know what fun ideas you had and adaptations you made by leaving a comment! You can also join the discussion over at The Play Network

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It’s not too late to join the challenge! Read the original post here and go back to see what has been suggested already. Either start there or jump right in!

Tomorrow hands on: as we grow will have the challenge for day 10! 

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  1. says

    The tubes are a great addition. I’m cheating a bit on this one as I already had a November tub in the works for the girls, but I think I’ll try to come up with one specifically for Bug. I’m off to see what that might include now.

  2. says

    I found out about your challenge from my sister, and I’m so excited to get started! Is there a way for you to combine your challenge posts in one area so that I can come back and consult often? Thanks!

  3. says

    This was a fantastic idea. We do this a lot, in many different ways, however, this prompted me to do something I have always wanted to try. So today, we had a “bath” in a bath tub FULL of cooked spaghetti. We started with the sensory explanation of how it feels before it’s cooked, and we played with it for about an hour before we cooked it, and then my 2 year old daughter was so excited to jump right in up to her middle. She swam in it, threw it, ran her hands over it, and loved the feel of it. Thanks for encouraging me to do this!

  4. Anonymous says

    What age do these seem to work best? I’ve tried several of these and spent a small fortune on supplies and they are a bust with my 17 month old every time. I’m hoping that she is just too little. Do you have any advice for younger toddlers?

  5. says

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