So after a recent trip to the beach we collected some Pandanus Seed Pods and the toddler twosome were so pleased with them. They are really hard with pointy little tips...i knew right away they would make a fantastic sensory painting experience!
It was a really basic activity...perfect for toddlers to really explore as they wanted to. I set up some brown paper for something different to white, pulled out our DIY paint pads and stood back to let the creativity begin!
The pandanus seed pods have a nice thick part at the top which was just perfect for the toddler twosome to grasp and push down hard!
I added a little water to the paint pads to thin the acrylic out a little...these stamping pads have been in use for over 6 months now with very few refills...they really are such a frugal and fun way to paint!
They had to press down quite hard on the paint and then the paper to make prints with the points but this was a great opportunity to practise their fine motor and problem solving skills!
Ruby has become increasingly concerned about her hands being messy lately which is part of her sensory processing disorder. I'm really glad i started lots of messy, sensory play with her early or we might be having more problems.
She really enjoyed this activity though and seemed to like the texture of the hard seed pod and the fact that it had quite a good space for her to grasp and hold as her grip can be a little loose at times...one of the reasons we are also working on fine motor activities so you will see more of those on the blog this year too!
She washed her hands numerous times in the tub i always keep close by but then she extended this action by also washing the seed pods...this kept her busy for quite a while with her little cloth and the water. As soon as hands and seed pods were clean she began painting again. obviously in her mind the process was complete and she was able to get messy again.
This can be frustrating to watch but i try to remember that it is her way of playing and working through the sensory experiences of an activity...and that is how she enjoys it....it is my job to lay the tools out for her, not direct how she uses them or i run the risk of making her feel she is playing or painting 'wrong'. So very important to always let a toddler determine their method of creativity and the finished product.
The toddler twosome also found a few other ways to extend this activity....we did some hand prints, we talked about the foam and bubbles appearing on the sponge pads and they discovered they could 'draw' with the pods which created a whole new pattern!
I absolutely love my sponge pads...for those that have asked about them they are honestly so simple to put together.
I buy the budget kitchen sponges (they don't absorb as much as the dearer brands so work better) and then dampen them a little before placing into recycled trays or containers. I tend to use the Chinese container variety as they have a lid.
Just pour a little paint on the damp sponge in the tray and smooth it over. Now you are ready for stamping! I have used my DIY Cornflour Paint as well as washable acrylic. If you use the acrylic paint you can put the lid on the containers and store them for long periods...you might need to add a little more paint here and there but if you turn the sponges over you will get more use before you need to refill!
Cornflour paint will last for about a week in the fridge but after that you will need to rinse the sponges out or they become smelly!
I really like to use them with toddlers for all sorts of painting as i don't end up with huge globs of paint everywhere and it also challenges their fine motor skills as they have to push objects into the sponges and lift back out.
This was such frugal fun and we can reuse the pods in many ways. We love being outdoors and exploring and you just never know what might be the next fun painting tool!
Perhaps you have some 'collectables' that could be used in another way to have some sensory fun....or perhaps you have already tried a few different ones out....I'd love you to share your favourite painting tool from nature with us in the comments below!
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