Thinking of ways to entertain the littlies this Easter weekend? Here are a few quick and easy sensory play ideas to keep your kids occupied. Plus, they're all Easter-themed!
Easter is just around the corner, and it’s time for us mums to find different ways to entertain our kids at home during their school break. Here are four quick and easy Easter-themed sensory play ideas that you can set up at home for those hot or rainy days.
Quick and easy Easter sensory play ideas for the little ones
1. Cotton wool bunny
This sensory play is great for younger toddlers, as the cotton balls are easy to grasp. This grasping motion is great for developing their gross motor skills. Older kids might prefer using their pincer skills to pick up the cotton balls instead, allowing them to practice fine motor skills.
I encourage my boys to stick the cotton balls within the lines, which is good practice for their listening skills, hand-eye coordination, and precision. The soft cotton balls and the sticky adhesive surface are great for stimulating their sensory skills. If you want to add extra depth to their sensory experience, spray some floral essential oils on the cotton balls to stimulate their sense of smell.
You will need:
- Self-adhesive wrapper (for books)
- Permanent marker (I go for the thick-tip ones)
- Cotton wool balls
- Masking tape
1. Cut the self-adhesive wrapper to the size you want.
2. Put masking tape on each corner to keep the wrapper nice and flat.
3. Draw your bunny outline on the gloss side of the paper.
4. Carefully peel back the adhesive side. (Tip: If you want to get it nice and flat, don’t peel back the paper on the adhesive side in one go. Peel the edge off first, then put the masking tape all around. Once the masking tape is on, stick it on the wall, and peel away the rest of the paper.)
5. Put masking tape around the edge on the adhesive side.
6. Stick it on the wall or floor.
7. Give your child some cotton wool balls and let them have fun.
2. Easter pastel rice sensory bin
I love using rice for sensory play because I love the texture and the sound it makes. Rice is easy to dye, thus you can create really colourful sensory bins using them. If you want to add extra depth to the sensory play, you can add spice or fragrant herbs to give it a lovely scent.
For this sensory bin, I made pastel colour sensory rice. The trick to making pastel colour sensory rice is to be gentle with the food colouring. Remember: you can always add more, but you cannot take away! Rice soaks up food colouring quickly, and once it is dyed, it is tough to remove.
You will need:
- White vinegar
- Food colouring (liquid or powder)
1. Pour the rice into a bowl.
2. Add a splash of white vinegar (You don’t need much, just enough to coat the rice. If you put too much, the rice will smell very vinegary even after it dries!)
3. Add a drop of food colouring and mix well. If you want the colour to be more intense, add another drop of food colouring. You can play around with it until you are happy with the colour.
4. Spread the coloured rice onto a baking tray, and let it dry. Once dry, break up the rice, and it is ready to be played with. If you want to give it a fragrance, add cinnamon, other spices or fragrant herbs to the rice after it has dried.
As this is an Easter-themed sensory bin, I added some fillable Easter eggs and a couple of wind-up chick toys. You can add a bunny or anything around the house that’s Easter-themed! To add an extra element to this sensory bin, I place some numbers toys inside the fillable Easter eggs, so the boys can open them and match the numbers to the correct number card. If you don’t want to do numbers, you can do alphabets or keep it simple and add tiny toy chicks inside. While they were playing, I put rice inside the fillable eggs and made them into egg shakers!
These eggs also made great scooping tools for the boys to scoop and pour the rice. You can use spoons, cups, and bowls for scooping and pouring tools. To keep with the Easter theme, I added gardening pouring tools and pots for them to play with.
3. Find the carrots number game
This sensory bin is a fun way to get your little ones into Maths. If you have young toddlers, skip the maths part and just let them enjoy discovering and finding the carrots inside the sensory bin.
You will need:
- Shredded paper (you can buy them from Cold Storage or stationery shops, or make your own)
- Toy carrots (I also bought these in Cold storage, but you can use real baby carrots if you want)
- A deep tray or bucket. (I use one of the Ikea trays)
- Printable worksheets
1. Fill the tray with shredded paper.
2. Hide the carrots inside.
3. Let your child dig and find the carrots.
4. Match the number of carrots they find on the worksheet. (For older kids, you can even do arithmetic worksheets.)
4. Fizzy Easter sensory bin
Time for some science! My boys love this sensory bin because they really enjoy the chemical reaction between the vinegar and the baking powder. I made the powder mixture into these gorgeous pastel colours to make them Easter-themed.
You will need:
- Flour (two tablespoons per colour)
- Baking powder (two tablespoons per colour)
- Vegetable oil (one tablespoon per colour)
- Food colouring (A few drops)
- Vinegar (At least one bottle)
1. Pour two tablespoons of flour into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of baking powder into the bowl. Mix well and set aside.
2. Pour approximately one tablespoon of vegetable oil into a cup.
3. Add a drop or two of food colouring or until the desired colour is achieved. (Note: Bear in mind the colour will be lightened once the oil is mixed in with the powder.)
4. Mix well. Don’t worry if the food colouring is separating from the oil.
5. Pour the coloured oil into the flour mixture and mix well. When the oil is mixed with the flour, it will clump. Just keep breaking it up and mixing. Repeat with other colours.
6. Fill a squirt bottle with vinegar.
7. Let them have fun! You can give them spoons to mix the foam after.
For the food colouring, I found that the amount you need to put in varies, depending on the colour and the type of food colour. So you will have to play around with it. Just remember: the colour will become a lot lighter once mixed with the flour mixture. You can always add more colouring if you want it more intense. I used an old cupcake tray to separate the coloured powders. If you don’t have one, you can put them in separate piles on the trays or use cookie cutters to separate them.
Both older kids and young toddlers can enjoy this sensory bin. Just ensure there’s adult supervision with young toddlers, as they would most likely try to put it in their mouth. But if they do, don’t panic – all the ingredients are edible. It just won’t taste very nice!
BONUS: Clean-up fun after the sensory activities
These Easter-themed sensory play ideas are easy to set up and clean up! (Very important for busy mums.) The messiest ones are the rice and fizzy sensory bin. With the rice sensory bin, a quick vacuum will do the trick; for the fizzy sensory bin, do it in the bathtub or the shower so you can hose everything down after you’re done. And if you’re like me and like training your kids young, give them the hover or showerhead and make a game out of it. My boys loved it and think it’s super fun!
I hope these quick and easy sensory bins will help keep your little ones entertained during the Easter break!