As my kids have gotten older, I don't need to set up as many play activities or invitations to play any more but I do try and do at least one a week, just to have something we can explore together.
I like to keep things simple but there is a truth about simplicity that I feel needs addressing.
Sometimes it is the things we buy that make it simple.
Disclaimer: Some of these things below I do stock because I love them so much and I have included the links where possible to everything. Click the underlined words.
Here are the things we own that help make setting up activities easier and quick.
1. Tuff Tray for sensory play.
Our is just a giant pot plant base from Bunnings. It was $18. It is great for both kids, easier to store than a tuff tray, can be used inside or outside.
I don't know if this is the exact one we have but its something like this. Click Here.
2. Sensory container with lid.
These container are great because all I have to do to set up the activity is take the lid off and then when they are finished I just put the lid back on.
Currently, our calming sand lives in this container, with some scoops & diggers.
3. Not all sensory bases are created equal.
If I am taking the time to create a sensory base, I want it to last a long time. That is why I prefer things like coloured chickpeas, black beans, calming sand (fav) and I do buy play dough because I just find it lasts longer. I also find these bases either easy to pick up or easy to vacuum up. They can be stored away ready for next time.
If I am wanting to try a sensory base that is messy, I will do it outside and choose a natural sensory base that I can easily hose off.
Sensory snow and Earth fizz are other sensory bases I love because they are quick to set up and are very captivating.
Kayla from @life_with_little_loves also has some great ideas on how some sensory bases like Oobleck can be reused.
You can add these to pretty much anything and the kids love them!
Can be used for sensory play, pretend play, as bath toys, bookish play, etc.
We store them in a $9 Bunnings container and it allows my kids to sort through and create what they want to.
6. Art Caddy.
Art caddy from Kmart but can also get them from the reject shop, big w. Sometimes in the afternoon we just like doing some art. All I have to do is grab and put it down somewhere and we are good to go.
Same can be said for the resuable colouring mats by Little Change Creators. The pouch they come in allows them to be set out and picked up really easily. Also so handy to just through in the hand bag. Ours is used weekly.
I don't have one of these yet but I would really like one. Every time we set up a sensory play inside, I just know how handy this would be. Sometimes I will set down towels but the water still goes through the towel.
Not affiliated in any way. I just think they are great and I really want one.
Not only are these great for bath time but they just add that extra element to water play. It means that I dont have to use food dye - which tends to just get everywhere and I am able create different colours.
Photo Jess @j.e.muller.
9. Life Of Colour Paint Pens
There have been so many times where I have been grateful to have paint pens in my life. For example... book week, and anytime I want to make a DIY gift for the grandparents. I can also turned cardboard boxes into pretty much anything.
The paint pens and also the paint sticks make DIY play easy. I love using them just as much as the kids.
Photo by Monique @_lets.play.today. She created a race track using the brush tip pens.