Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Sensory Tub & Playdough - Gardening

(Phew! I'm getting this in just under the wire, aren't I?)

Sensory Tub
I was so psyched about this month's tub because it involves dirt!! Like real actual dirt! What kid doesn't love playing in dirt?! And truth be told, I was anxious to get my hands in this tub for some sensory goodness! Ever since I was a kid I've loved getting my hands dirty whether it be with mud, paint or flour. :) Hooray for messy fun!!

James saw the tub and said, "Ooo what's that?! It's beautiful!". :) Bless his little heart.

Here's what's inside:
:: Dirt - organic potting soil, to be exact. If you create this yourself please be sure to use organic soil because the other stuff has far too many chemicals in it for little hands.
:: Little gardening tools - this is the set we bought & it has three tools and a kneeling mat.
:: Silk sunflowers
:: Small clay pots - to scoop dirt, collect seeds or plant the sunflowers in.
:: Lots of rocks
:: Plant markers - these are actually from my own potted plants, but had been pulled out by James. Thankfully I can tell the difference between mint and dill! :D
:: Seeds - I used the biggest seeds I could find: sunflower, peas & pumpkin.
:: Small (fake!) bugs and snakes

My bloggy friend, Cara, from The Picky Apple made an awesome garden sensory tub for her cute little guy where she used real flowers and LIVE worms! Now that's one super mama!! (sorry, James, your mama just can't handle creepy crawly stuff!)

(fyi, I've just added my go-to playdough recipe to my sidebar.)

I went with brown to simulate dirt and, with this idea in mind, I created a little gardening activity for James.
He can put the "dirt" in the little pot and grow some plants...

He can roll out a little garden bed and grow some flowers. :)

I'm positive he'll come up with lots of other ideas on his own - he's the true creative force behind our activities!

The little pebbles (in the muslin bag pictured above) and the tiny flowers provide an excellent opportunity for fine motor improvement.

Live and learn: the playdough stuck to the clay pot and would not come off without washing. Just something to keep in mind should you recreate this activity for yourself.

PS: This is an OUTDOOR ONLY sensory tub for us! I like dirt, but I do not like it in my house! :)

PPS: I'm linking this post up to a couple of fun blog carnivals - click here for more information.


The Activity Mom said...

This is awesome! Thanks for letting us know about the organic dirt. I wouldn't have thought of that on my own.

Unknown said...

Wow, really great ideas! I'm starring this in my google reader. Thanks for sharing!

Montessori Beginnings said...

Love your ideas! I also love how clean that sensory tub is in the first picture. It made me laugh. I bet it's not like that now. I could just imagine L in there getting down and dirty. : )

Sippy Cup Central said...

That is lovely and thanks for posting the playdough recipe! Karen

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

This is seriously awesome! I am thinking of making some sensory tubs for Anna once we come back, but I am only brave enough to allow them outside :)

Anonymous said...

I love this month's sensory tub! Considering we live in an appartment, this would be so great for my kids (as a balcony activity!). And turning the playdough into "dirt" for kids to use in that way is genius. Simple, but still genius! Thanks for the great ideas :)

Theresa Mezo said...

This tub has got to be, hands down, my favorite one yet! James is going to have SO much fun with it.. love the playdough too! :)

Mommy Moment said...

What a F-U-N sensory tub!
Your playdough looks like our play dough for this month too! (although your color dirt seems better than ours!)

Hope you are doing well!


tracey (aka rainbowmummy) said...

I love the sensory tub sooooo much!! I always wanted a "mud" part of the garden but was worried about the cats/foxes and just how far down Egg would dig ;) I can't believe I never thought of this!! A lidded sensory tub full of dirt! Don't forget to add some bowls/whisks and cake tines etc to make some mud pies!!

Ashley said...

WOW! So fun! I ahave always thought about putting dirt in my sensory table, but haven't quite been brave enough!!! I love the brown playdough with all the props. Thanks for the ideas!

erin said...

I love the sensory tub! We are big play dough fans over here. I love that we can make quickly & easily. Its so fun to watch my kids make spaghetti or bread and mix it all in with their little kitchen. I had never thought to make the play dough brown to simulate dirt though, what a fun idea.

Rebecca said...

Love these ideas!!! You are amazing and im so glad i found your blog :)

alljoinin said...

Love the playdough with the flowers, simply love it!!!!

Cara said...

Your gardening sensory tub turned out fabulous! I love the seeds and the plant markers.

Thanks so much for the shout out! Our marigolds are doing great, but the worms didn't make it while we were out of town (we got a whole bunch of rain, and my sensory bin wasn't draining...). It got really stinky, but we did have fun with the worms for a little while, at least!

The playdough idea is great too! I haven't done playdough in a while, but I may have to do this. I've been wanting to work with some silk flower arranging, and this would be perfect!

Elle Belles Bows said...

I am so thrilled to have found your blog. I cannot wait to share your ideas with my little one. Thanks!!

Leptir (NataĊĦa) said...

Hi Mari-Ann! I have a little award for you :-)
Please, visit my blog:

Jennifer Howard said...

I LOVE your blog! This is one (of many) wonderful & fabulous idea!
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

ooo love these! That sensory tub would be heaven for Sammy!!

regina said...

another thing to do with playdough to make it more dirt like (and to add another sense) is to mix a little ground coffee into the mix. it will make the playdough brown naturally and also gritty like dirt and smell faintly of coffee...if you are not a coffee drinker used tea bags split open also work but produce a much weaker brown color

Shonda said...

What a cute site you have. Thanks for hooking up to Kid Friendly Friday! I'm following you. Please follow if not already!

XYZZ said...

Very cute! I bet James just loves that tub. What a great idea too for people who don't have their own green space.

Jen said...

Oh my gosh how fun is this???? LUCKY, LUCKY BOY! My boys would be in heaven if I let them around this much dirt. You are so creative, thank you for all the inspiring ideas!

Heather @ Raising Memories Blog said...

So much fun! Thanks for linking up at Sharing Time, I hope to see more from you next week!
Have a great one :)

Anonymous said...

LOVE this one too! all your sensory tubs are so great!!! LOVE the playdoh and playdoh kit how fun!! :)

Mommy Moment said...

Mari-Ann, I would LOVE to get your blog directly sent to my e-mail! I have so many blogs in my Google reader that sometimes I miss some of my favorites!
If you would like to put an e-mail subscription on your blog we have a easy tutorial on how to do it!

MommyToTwoBoys said...

LOVE these! My ASD son would probably play with the dirt tub for hours!!! Perfect for sensory issues. Thanks!

Mada said...

Hello Mary Ann, I am from Lima, Peru and I have been following your blog for about a month more or less. I have just known about this method for about a year, it is not common to use this method in my country but I think it is great, I wish my son could learned with it, because he has dificulties for learning, I think it would helped a lot if he could learned with it at the begining (now he´s 13) but as he has his particular rhythm for learning, I try to adapt, the best I can, concrete material to the traditional method for helping him. Congratulations for you and for all the moms who are working with this method with their children. (sorry if I make some mistakes writing in English)

Kim said...

Hi Mary Ann, I made this tub for my daughter this week and she loves it! She keeps asking to do her "gartin tup" (she's two). I tagged you on my post. Hope you don't mind :)

Dr. Harland said...

Love this idea! I'm linking to it for an earthworm unit I'm doing with my kindergartner! This will be a nice addition!

Darci the STEM Mom

Deb Chitwood said...

I miss you, Mari-Ann, but hope you're enjoying that most important time with your family. I always love visiting your blog. I'm hoping you're always able to keep the archives available.

I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Spring Playdough Activities at

Unknown said...

Love this - I have featured it in my 50 Wonderful Ways with Play Dough post, Alice @ Mums Make Lists


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