Sensory play – pine cones,sensory hoops and shredded plastic

We haven’t done any messy play for about a fortnight for various reasons so this week I wanted to make sure we did some.  The children all enjoy our messy/sensory play sessions and always seem more relaxed afterwards. 
Last week one of the packages I received contained some shredded plastic strips which were white, silver and clear.  As soon as I saw them I knew they would be perfect for sensory play so put them to one side.  I also found some pine cones and put them to one side too.  Then on Thursday after our morning snack I retrieved the shredded plastic and pine cones along with the marmalade stacking hoops I had won from taking part in a weekly Playfest last year.  Playfest is a free weekly event run by Izziiwizzi Kids. It’s free to take part and happens on a Tuesday on twitter and a Thursday on facebook.  Each week features a new topic and enables you to exchange ideas and learn more about different brands and play activities.  I won a set of marmalade stacking hoops from taking part in a session on slow toys.  Every since the hoops have arrived they have been explored with great interest more so by Rowan.  However Erin has discovered them in the last fortnight and pulls them out to play with at every opportunity.  So I thought this would be a good opportunity to use them further.  
I started by introducing the pine cones to the children, Erin wasn’t sure about them at first and took a good five minutes watching Rowan handle them before she cautiously picked one up.  She then spent a while passing the pine cone from one hand to another and touching each part of them.  Then when she was more at ease with them she started giggling and passing them to myself or Rowan before accepting it back.  She emptied the little wicker basket they were in and refilled it again several times.

I then got out the stacking hoops and took each of the hoops off and spread them out so that Erin and Rowan could explore each of the different textures before putting them back on the stacking pole.  Rowan was quick to re stack them then take them off again and start all over again.  He stacked them with all the wooden hoops together, then the knitted ones next, followed by the velvet ones.  Erin seemed to enjoy squishing the velvet hoops and knitted ones in her hands.  She wasn’t so keen on the wooden hoops and seemed to avoid touching them even if I passed them to her.  
After about fifteen minutes I got out a small cardboard box with the shredded plastic strips in and added them to the pine cones and the stacking hoops. Rowan dove straight into the box moving the shreds of plastic around, hiding pine cones under it.  I took some out and put it on the carpet so that we could look at the different colours in the strips.  Rowan enjoyed spreading it out further and even decided to put it on my head like a wig! not the most attractive look as you can see!  

We took it in turns holding the strips up to the light to see if the colours changed and talked about what we could see.  There were pinks, purples, whites and silvers and they looked lovely in the sunshine coming through the window.  Rowan tried to cover himself with the strips at one stage and said the strips ticked against his skin.  We tried wrapping some of the strips around the hoops and stacking pole.  It was lovely to hear how Rowan talked about the different textures of the different items, the hard, cold wood, the soft squishy velvet, the tickley plastic strips and the bumpy knitted hoops.  Erin seemed to have loved exploring the different textures too and got quite upset when it was time to tidy up.  Especially when I put the pine cones away, I think they had been her favourite part of the session.  I think I will have to come up with some more ways to use pine cones in our play sessions for her. 
Edspire   Messy Play

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