Compost or potting soil is a great filler for a sensory tray or bin and we are delighted to share this through 40 Days of Sensory Bin Fillers with Little Bins For Little Hands.
The reason why I wanted Peakles to use compost was to give her the freedom to play, to get muddy and dirty. I think this is a sensory experience that is often discouraged amongst girls and I was aware that Peakles was becoming more hesitant with messy play in case she got dirty and needed her hands washed.
We took a large box, but we could have used a tray, washing up bowl or any large container, and half filled it with shop bought compost or potting soil. This was chosen as it was cleaner and more ‘bug free’ than soil that could be dug up out of the garden. The box was placed on a play table and we spread a dust sheet on the floor to catch any stray soil. If the weather had been warmer we would have done this activity outside.
To encourage Peakles to start exploring the sensory box I gave her a selection of plastic toy figures and vehicles. She enjoyed pushing the cars around in the soil and making the figures jump. We added some orange peel and Peakles liked how it changed the smell of the compost. As her confidence grew she began to start digging in the compost with a plastic bowl and then with her fingers. She buried all the figures and uncovered them again.
Peakles then took some pinecones and began to pretend they were trees. She hid the figures in the soil saying that they were treasure in the hills and planted a huge pine cone forest on the top of it! She delighted in showing me how dirty her hands were and I encouraged her to carry on playing.
We stopped for a drink and a light snack and Peakles then wanted to add water to the tray to make lots of muddy puddles! This is where she became totally absorbed in the sensory play.
She explored adding the water, creating mud pies and squashing the wet compost in her hands. Peakles then did a reverse of washing up, taking clean plastic toys and ‘washing’ them in a bowl of muddy water.
After nearly two hours of play it was time to stop and instead of throwing the compost away, our final play was to add some seeds to the soil, Peakles spread them about and squashed them into the soil. The tray was placed outside and we will see if anything grows from it!
Finally it was into a hot bath for a good bubbly soak, followed by a snack and a very long nap!
To discover more ideas about sensory bins and what to put in them then visit the main 40 Sensory Bin Fillers Collaborative Series
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