I love trying new sensory activities with the kids. Today, we’ll show you some simple sensory activities using grits and a sensory or water table.
Some of your students may be familiar with grits, but some may not. Kids get excited using novel materials in the classroom. They also LOVE to use familiar items in a novel way. So, even if some of the kids don’t know what grits are, they will all love these grits sensory exploration activities!
Our sensory activities with grits were inspired by Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails’ Grits Sensory Bin, our previous play with oats, and an old container of grits. Since Little Hurricane and Determined Diva are spending a lot of time with us this summer, I’ve really been focused on edible play. While I’m not encouraging them to eat our sensory materials, I prefer using edible items in case they do just that. At 1 and 2, though, they’re both still putting tons of things into their mouths! In case you’re wondering — grits are a dried, ground version of hominy (corn with the germ and hull removed).
I placed the white grits into our water table, along with funnels and cups. After giving the children some time to explore the texture of the grits, I added a few other edible sensory items I keep on-hand (cornmeal and oats). Engineer and Girly Girl really wanted to run a bakery, so spoons and mixing bowls were added to the play. I loved seeing kids of all ages playing and enjoying the grits, oats, and cornmeal! Age 6 down to age 1, and they were all engaged in the play for quite some time . . . albeit in different ways.
Engineer and Girly Girl ran the bakery, Little Hurricane filled cups and poured them out, and Diva had fun sticking her hands in everything. Diva was into this play for about an hour — mostly following the other kids around, picking up the spoons, and running her hands through the grits mixture. Engineer, Girly Girl, and Little Hurricane were into this for close to 3 hours! Yes, my back porch was turned into a giant mess by the end of the day. Nothing a broom and a vacuum won’t fix, though!
In addition to using the basic, dry grits, we also tried out a frozen version! The summer heat sometimes prevents us from playing outside in the afternoons. So when we can’t get to the playground, I love using icy sensory items with the kiddos. They sure seem to love it too, and Little Hurricane asks, “more ice?” most days when he arrives.
To make the frozen grits, I started with 3 small bowls of cooked grits. I left one as is, added strawberry Jell-O powder to one, and I added blue raspberry Jell-O powder to the next. I liked adding a different smell to the frozen grits, and I’m sure the taste was different too. Once the cooked grits had cooled down, I spooned it into ice cube trays. I added a little water to some of the trays and left some with just grits in it.
After the grits were frozen, I dumped them into the water table. Little Hurricane and Determined Diva immediately came over to check out what was going on (Engineer was visiting with his grandparents at the time, so it was just me and the littles). Their little hands reached in and grabbed blocks of grits, spreading them along the bottom of the water table. Of course, those same little hands also brought the frozen grits to little mouths for tasting! Little Hurricane had fun stacking them, swirling them around, and piling them into containers. He also asked for some water, so I added some into the top section of the table. Diva loved splashing the frozen cubes into the water, giggling as she did so!
I found the texture of the frozen grits to be so fun! It took a while for them to break apart and “melt”, too, which the kiddos seemed to like. Little Hurricane especially loved squishing them in his hands! After quite some time, the frozen cubes of grits fully broke down in the water. This didn’t stop the kids from playing, though! Little Hurricane seemed intent on catching floating bits of grits with one of his water toys — watching this cracked me up! The grits idea may have seemed a little loopy at the beginning, but it turned into hours and hours of meaningful fun for the children.
Onto Stress-Free Sunday! If you’re a blogger, I’d love for you to link up below! My favorites from last week’s linky party are:
Buddy and Buggy’s “Art for Kids: Salt Art Inspired by Motoi Yamamoto”
“Sticker Train Crafts for Kids” from Play Trains!
Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds’ “Preschoolers Finger Painting on a Slippery Surface”
“15 Amazing Vintage Summer Reads for Kids” from KC Edventures
If you’d like to grab a button for this link-up, feel free:
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If you were featured, I have a special button just for you:
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Now, grab a cup of coffee and join me for the Stress-Free Sunday link-up. You can link up anything family-friendly . . . it doesn’t have to be related to the ideas I shared above. Please keep in mind that, by linking up, you’re giving me permission to share a picture and a link back to your post (here and on social media). I can’t wait to see what you share this week!
Shared at The Kid’s Co-op
Sensory Materials for Preschoolers
I hope you feel encouraged to use what you have on-hand for some of these simple sensory activities!
But if you’re looking for some basic sensory play materials, I thought I’d put together this little list. Don’t feel like you have to run out and buy them all though!
I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
- Water beads
- Shaving cream
- Dry pasta
- Uncooked rice
- Jell-O powder
- Dry chickpeas
- Dish soap
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
When the kids chose to do some pretend play with our grits sensory bin, it immediately reminded me of Preschool Teacher 101’s super fun restaurant dramatic play resource. Click on the image below to learn more!
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