As the weather turns colder and days grow shorter, play, exploration and learning move to inside environments. One of my favorite boredom busters for winter days is a sensory scavenger hunt! Interacting with different textures and utilizing everyday items in a new way is a great way to incorporate learning and to spark creativity in both children and adults. A sensory scavenger hunt can function as a stand-alone activity or be extended into a multi-step project.
Sensory Scavenger Hunt: Find and explore different textures throughout your home. Try to find one element from each category:
o Fabric: Heavy fabric: leather, wool or tweed Soft fabric: cotton, modal (t-shirt) Smooth fabric: silk, satin, rayon Coarse fabric: bath towels, fleece, woven materials o Kitchen: Textured dry goods: uncooked pasta, rice or oats Seasonings: coarse salt or pepper Cold items: ice, freezer packs Smooth items: yogurt, pudding o Arts and crafts: Paint Beads Glue Stickers or contact paper Pipe cleaners o Bathroom: Cotton ball or cotton swabs (Q-tips) Bristles on a brush or comb Small amounts of gel or mousse Textured handles
Extending exploration: After gathering different materials, try to combine them in different ways to encourage learning and creativity. Some of my favorites: o Pipe cleaners, beads and dry pasta can become a stringing activity to work on bilateral coordination skills. o Glue, salt and paint can become a multi-step art project: draw designs with glue, then sprinkle with salt; paint when dry. o Contact paper, rice or oats, and cotton balls can be combined to create a decorative window cling. Tip: tear the cotton balls into smaller pieces for excellent fine motor practice and easier handling. o Washcloth/fabric, washable paint and cotton swabs can introduce a different style of textured painting. Tip: use painter’s tape to tape the cloth down before painting.