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4th of July Sensory Tub for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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What is a sensory tub, you may be asking? Basically a sensory tub is a clear plastic bin filled with various objects that stimulate the senses. Studies have been done to show the importance of sensory play for toddler and preschooler's development. They can use their senses to learn colors, shapes, textures, smells, and sounds. They also learn from pouring, measuring, counting, scooping and sorting. If you play with your child, you can use it as an opportunity to explain in simple terms the concepts they are learning about such as full vs empty or soft vs hard. By doing themed sensory tubs, you can teach them about holidays or seasons. You can also use them as an opportunity to build vocabulary words. There are really no limits to sensory tubs, you can put just about anything interesting in them! Just make sure that the items are age appropriate if you are like me and have a child who likes to put everything in their mouth.

Sensory Tubs
-Promote learning through all 5 senses
-Build fine motor skills
-Teach concepts
 Teach colors, shapes, size, and texture
-Fun

 For this tub you need
-Shallow plastic container (I got mine at Target)
-5 lbs bag of rice
-Food coloring
-3 Large Ziplock bags
-4th of July themed objects (I got mine from the dollar section at Target)
-Star confetti to add to the plain rice
-Pipe cleaner

The night before divide the rice into the 3 equal parts in large ziplock bags and add red food coloring to one, blue to another, and leave the last one white. Knead the bags to mix the food coloring, then empty them on wax paper to dry. I did mine a few hours before and it wasn't dry and the food coloring got on her hands, so I would definitely do it the night before.

Add the rice to the container

Then add the rest of your items and you are ready for fun! 

She wasn't sure at first if it was okay to touch, so I had to encourage her a bit

I used this as an opportunity to talk about colors- red, white, and blue.

 She liked filling the bucket with rice and then dumping it back out. It took a few times of encouraging her to keep it in the bin and not on the ground

 She loved running her hands through the rice

 I also talked to her about shapes-stars in this case

 I brought out some measuring cups and a potato masher for extra scooping and mashing :)

 We then filled the bucket with the items from each color group. This teaches sorting and colors

 This is what it looked like at the end

 She had a lot of fun with this! Unfortunetly, she has been sick so I don't think she got to enjoy it as much as she would have if she had been feeling better. We will definetely be doing more sensory tubs in the future though!
TIPS
-For easy cleanup I used a plastic shower curtain liner I bought at the dollar store. Do it outside and use the mat for truly mess free play!
-Store the rice in a ziplock bag or jars for use in the future!

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