Sensory play has been a boon to me with a three year age difference between my kids. It’s something they can both have fun with and play in their own way, but they are playing together in the same space, which makes my life immensely easier. I also love for them to experience different sensations, especially my youngest. We play with slimy, messy, gritty, powdery, crunchy, you name it, and I’m always looking for more things to introduce them to and to hold their interest.
I was just about to empty out the liquid in a can of chickpeas (called aquafaba), and I thought about this vegan meringue recipe I wanted to make for my aunt last time she was over, but then it hit me. We could use the chickpea foam for a sensory base! So here is the recipe, which has taken the sensory world by storm!
Liquid from a can of chickpeas
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Whip it at high speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks.
That’s it! It couldn’t be easier and I love that it uses something you would normally throw away. I’ve seen some beautiful, messy play with this after I shared it on Instagram, and I’m so excited to share it with you all here! Let me know how it goes!
If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can try a splash of vinegar or lemon. I haven’t tried the foam without it, but it serves to form and stabilize the foam through its acidity.
A blender will not get the thick, stable foam like a hand or stand mixer, but if it’s the only thing you have, give it a shot!
It really can’t get easier than this. It’s just hot glue on a toilet paper roll. Yeeeeep. Use your fingers to support the roll as you imprint it into playdough, or stick it around a rolling pin if it fits! We’ve made so many variations of this so far, including these mermaid scales and a honeycomb print!
Original idea from @playtime.messy.madness on Instagram!
This little bugger is capsaicin. My search through the literature for something interesting to say about this molecule was quite fruitful, but considering I have a lot of mama followers out there, I thought I would veer towards how its receptor is thought to be responsible for that motherf&$@er we call labor pain.
Capsaicin snuggles up with a protein called TRPV1, which is found on many nerves throughout our body. When the right stimulus activates TRPV1, we feel an intense burning pain. It is a nociceptor, which is fancy science speak for something that warns us when something bad is happening to our body, like getting burnt, frozen, cut, or hit. In addition to heat above 109F/43C, some chemicals like capsaicin can also stimulate TRPV1.
Though when in labor, your body doesn’t flood your baby maker with ghost peppers, a study found that TRPV1 and associated nerves are what may be responsible for cervical ripening and the feeling of a burning pitchfork being inserted into your abdomen and rotated during every contraction.😂(they did not describe labor pain that way, I took some artistic license based on my experience)😂💪🤱. Though normally TRPV1 is found all over your body, in late pregnancy and labor it essentially disappears from the body and is only found around the cervix. It is fascinating that our bodies transform so much during pregnancy, and it is exciting that one day we may discover why the f$&@ labor decided it needed to hurt so bad.
Sources: Tingaker, et al. Influence of pregnancy and labor on the occurrence of nerve fibers expressing the capsaicin receptor TRPV1 in human corpus and cervix uteri. Reproductive Bio and Endocrinology 6:(8) 2008
Frias and Merighi. Capsaicin, Nociception and Pain. Molecules. 21(6), 797. 2016
Practice letter writing with bubbles and sprinkles! This fun activity not only works out little hands by engaging their fine-motor skills, but it also helps with coordination AND encourages ingenuity as use they everyday items in new and interesting ways. This project was inspired by the amazing blog Teach Beside Me and utilizes the wildly popular resin sprinkle letters from Happi Crafts that range from $7 to $80 with lots of design options!
Recommended age is 4+ because it requires a good amount of coordination to pinch and release the balloon to write properly.
Large bowl, plastic bin, or casserole dish
Pen or marker with no ink left
Waterproof letter prompts (can also use any type of letter prompt here, just lay them next to the bowl instead of submerging them if they’re not waterproof.)
Remove the ink chamber in the pen or marker till just the casing is left. Wash all the residual ink away, if any. Leave the casing open at both ends.
Secure the balloon onto the non-writing end of the casing with duct tape.
Add a squirt of dish soap to the bowl and fill with water so bubble form.
If you’re using waterproof letter prompts, put them in the water.
Scoop away excess bubbles if you have too many, then blow up the balloon through the casing.
Instruct or show your child how to pinch and release the opening of the balloon to control the flow of air.
Have them fetch a letter from the bowl, submerge just the tip of the casing, and release some air while drawing the letter!
Though this is a very fun activity because every kid would love bubble writing, it also sneaks in a lot of different types of learning. Not only does it support letter forming and recognition, but it also engages fine motor muscles and encourages coordination skills. Since blowing up the balloon is easier with the casing mouthpiece than without, it encourages independence and confidence. Setting up these types of unique activities encourage creative thinking, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.
Create beautiful and unique Earth Day spin art with your kids, while also learning about different environments on our planet. This project gives a twist to typical spin-art by adding glue at the end, which is then used to affix sand, dirt, and baking soda to give your Earths an intriguing texture and to spark conversation about the different environments on Earth!
Cut paper to the size of your spin-art box and affix to the spinner
Prepare green and blue paint to your liking. You can also experiment with adding a little water to thin the paints and see what different effects you get.
While spinning, drop, pour, or drip paint onto the paper.
When you’re happy with the paint portion, squeeze about a teaspoon of glue right in the center of the spinning paper, then turn off the machine.
Sprinkle sand where you want to create a desert, dirt where you want to create a continent with fertile land, and baking soda on where you want frozen tundra.
Shake off excess, let dry, and admire your work!
My four year old really enjoyed this whole process and made six spin-art Earths in one sitting. We discussed where on (actual) Earth exists deserts, temperate and tropical forests, and tundra, some of the animals that live in those environments, and what it’s like to live in each.
We also made our own spin-art box together, which added a lot to the experience for her. If you’re interested, check out our DIY spin-art box here!
Warning: Spinning cardboard or paper can cut you, be careful. When working with motors and batteries, follow all directions as outlined by the supplier to ensure your are using their product correctly and safely.
Cut off the flaps of the cardboard box, trace and cut a large circle from one of them, marking the center of the circle.
Set up your circuit with the motor, battery and switch according to the motor’s directions (i.e. Make sure you are using the right battery for the motor). If you don’t have a switch you can connect and disconnect the battery to turn it on and off.
Mount the motor in the center at the bottom of the box with the motor shaft facing up. Depending on your motor’s casing, it may need to be mounted from the sides as opposed to the bottom because sometimes the back end of the shaft is exposed and will create friction on the box when running. This may be challenging, but it is exactly why you are making your spin-art box with your child instead of buying it- problem solving and creativity. We’ve done this several times and each time we try to think of a new way to mount it, including recycled Styrofoam blocks, a toilet paper roll, or one of the other flaps from the box.
Poke a hole in the center of the cardboard circle you cut and set it on top of the motor shaft.
Place a piece of duct tape over the shaft, pinch so it sticks to the shaft, then flatten the rest onto the cardboard.
Test your set up, making adjustments if necessary.
Cut your paper so it fits into the box, if necessary, then gently tape it to the spin platform.
If you’re using poster paint or acrylics, water them down a little so they are more fluid.
Turn on your contraption and squeeze paint as it spins!
Creating your own toys with your children fosters creative thinking, independence, and pride in one’s work. It also helps reduce waste and clutter in your home. Once you are done playing, you can dismantle your spin-art box, and reuse the motor and battery in many ways. Then, if you want to do spin-art at another time, set it up again!
Here are some projects from our site where you can reuse the motor:
This is 5-geranoxypsoralen. It’s found in many citrus fruits, but at an especially high concentration in grapefruit. 🍊 When you take some medications, or eat food, or drink $12 fresh-pressed juices, or lick hallucinogenic frogs, etc., an enzyme called cytochrome P450 alters some of the foreign molecules you ingested so they are more easily cleared by your body (AKA pee it out). 🚽 This is one of the first steps in your body’s built-in detox system (so yes, your body detoxes the detox juice you just drank 😉). 5-geranoxypsoralen, however, inhbits cytochrome P450 (specifically CYP3A4), which means that if you drink grapefruit juice, the enzyme cannot modify those molecules to clear them. This is usually fine unless you are taking certain medications. 💊 When you are prescribed a medicine, the dose takes into account the amount that will be lost by cytochrome P450. But, if cytochrome P450 is knocked out by the grapefruit juice, it will increase the effective amount of medicine your body will get, sometimes with toxic side effects. 😱 So, PSA, always check your medications’ labels for warnings about citrus juice. Common contraindicated drugs are Lipitor (atorvastatin), Buspar (buspirone), and Uceris (budesonide).