School’s out for the summer! If you’re a parent like me, you dread the first rainy day that keeps your kids inside and finds you desperately searching Pinterest for a fun and simple DIY project to entertain the kids with some novelty! Homemade recipes for Gak, Oobleck, Snow Paint, Silly Putty or Play-Dough take commonly found household ingredients and allow a child to learn through doing while challenging their cognitive, language, sensory, fine motor, and motor planning skills—all disguised with food coloring, glitter, and slime!
Help your child develop core language skills by directing you through the steps of gathering needed ingredients and supplies, measuring, and mixing. Model how to comment on the changes in texture, color, shape, and temperature. Promote conversation during play with the end product! Foster imagination by playing alongside your child and creating new designs, hiding toys or objects inside, or using the sensory play in a new way! Pinching, rolling, squeezing, squishing, and pushing will strengthen fine motor muscles. Add funnels, tweezers, pitchers, rolling pins, and cookie cutters to see what little hands can do to explore in new ways while they develop motor planning skills. Watch the natural interactions and countless skill developments unfold when a child’s sensory interests are piqued. So if you’re trying to avoid the next "Pinterest Fail,” keep in mind all of the skills your child is working to develop and consider how you can support them with something new!