Getting Messy – Rainbow Spagetti Sensory Tub

Want to put together a fun, messy, sensory play activity for your kids for less than a dollar? This sensory tub cost me 59 cents! Seriously! Read on…..  

Last week, R (3) was looking over my shoulder as I scrolled through Pinterest and he saw my pin for hosting a messy playdate from the lovely Crystal at Growing a Jeweled Rose. Messy play is one thing, I’ve never been shy about getting messy around here, but Crystal is one brave lady to host an entire play date based on messy play! I take my hat off to her. Anyway, the picture R saw was of a sensory tub filled with blue coloured spagetti.  “That looks like fun! Let’s do that!” (Honestly, I think R enjoys Pinterest even more than I do.)

This would have to be the cheapest sensory tub I’ve ever created for R. (Well, apart from the tubs we do which are filled with water, that is.) All  I outlayed was 59 cents for the cheapest packet of spagetti I could find. The other components were items I already had in the cupboard.

Here’s what we created! Fun, right?🙂

So here’s how we made it. So quick and easy!

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St Patrick’s Day Sensory Tub

I have had in the back of my mind for weeks that I need to create some St Patrick’s Day themed Montessori trays. We still have our Valentine’s Day trays and sensory tub on our shelves so I’m a bit behind. This morning I was scrolling through my Pinterest boards  and R(3) (who incidentally loves Pinterest almost as much as I do!) saw this gorgeous St Patrick’s Day sensory tub from Sense Of Wonder. So we decided to get our St Patrick’s Day fun underway and make a sensory tub. This was the first time that R has helped me with putting together a sensory tub and he had very definite ideas about what he wanted. This is what we created together.

Our St Patrick’s Day Sensory Tub contains:

  • Dried green split peas
  • Mardi Gras beads
  • Green pom poms
  • Green pipe cleaner stars
  • Gold coins (I wasn’t able to find any pretend gold coins. These were actually party favours from the $2 Shop that were gold medals for race winners. The kind that you wear around your neck, Olympics style. I removed the ribbons and turned them into gold coins)
  • Clear and green glass pebbles (you can’t see it in the photo but the green ones have a beautiful irridescence)
  • Green buttons
  • Various utensils for scooping and pouring
  • Felt rainbow (I made this to add a game to the tub. There’s more information on the rainbow at the end of this post)

Here’s a pic of the supplies before we put eveything in the tub.

We incorporated a sorting game into the construction of this tub as R sorted the green pom poms from the other colours.

Once we had our “ingredients” ready, R poured the split peas into the tub. When he was done, he ran his fingers through them. I asked him what it felt like. His response? “It feels like peas.” Ask a silly question…..

We tossed everything in there and at last it was time to play. There was lots of pouring and scooping, as expected. We use split peas quite a lot in our sensory tubs. They feel so silky and they make a great sound as they are poured into the cups and bowls. R scooped a few spoonfuls into the little cups and then shook them close to his ear, listening as the peas tapped and rattled against the plastic. Throughout his play, the peas became dog food for an imaginary pet puppy, special green jelly, cups of coffee and later they were water for his special machines (the cups and bowls were the machines).  You gotta love sensory tubs for sparking imaginative play!

The felt rainbow was something I put together as an added game in the tub. I didn’t use a template. I kept it pretty freeform and just eyeballed it as I cut the various colours. I like that it is a bit organic and not perfect.

Here’s a pic of the pieces when they are separated. It’s an excercise is size sorting.

And here it is in action.

I plan on writing an explanation of sensory tubs in a future post, but in the meantime, Mari-Ann at Counting Coconuts has written a very detailed and helpful explanation. You can read it here.