Edible Sensory Tubs for Young Toddlers

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I was browsing Pinterest Friday morning, searching for a craft for my 3-year-old since I knew we would be stuck in the apartment most of the day. A few clicks later, I found Spice Painting at Play Create Explore. Fun! Easy! I had Libbie set up to paint with containers of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sprinkles in just a few minutes.

But I have this other kid, too. And he’s that age where I would love for him to be exploring and trying new activities (he’s a little shy of 15 months). But he definitely cannot do the same things Libbie does.

I tried putting some paint into a ziploc bag and letting him squish it around. This was his reaction.

Then a lightbulb went off in my head as I wandered to the pantry. I would love for David to be able to play with sensory tubs, but he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. So why not create a sensory tub with objects I wouldn’t worry about him ingesting?

I started with oat bran as a base, where you might use dry rice or sand in a “normal” sensory tub. I then added small edible objects of various sizes: raisins, chocolate cheerios, a few mini m&m candies, and broken-up cracker pieces.

The first thing he did, of course, was stuff some in his mouth. That’s what I get for giving him a spoon to play with, I guess! But since it was just oat bran, no big deal. He figured out quickly that the oat bran really didn’t taste good and instead dug for the other items to eat.

After a while, I dumped it out on his high-chair tray and gave him a toy car to roll through it. He “vroooooomed!” to his heart’s content while Libbie took her time with the spice painting. A win-win situation all around!

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23 thoughts on “Edible Sensory Tubs for Young Toddlers

  1. You are Fun Mom! I am Not Fun Mom 🙁 All I can think about when I look at that is how much work it will be to clean up all the mess. Isn’t that terrible!

  2. We love to fingerpaint with pudding. And both the kids would love it. We have use chocolate and vanilla or add food coloring to the vanilla and watch how it turns colors.

  3. Love this! My son is 15 months and has hypotonia. We have DT,PT, OT, and ST. Today in speech therapy we had him crush saltines and added teething bisquits, puffs, and rice cake patties. He loved it, and although he didn’t put it in his mouth…we hope and pray one day he will. Just working on all the sensory stuff. I am like Jennifer (above) and had a hard time doing this in the middle of the living room floor, but knew it was best for him. With the great weather we are having I hope to bring in outside tomorrow!

    • Outside is brilliant! We live on a third-floor apartment so dragging his high chair there is not ideal, but it would work for a lot of people. Best wishes with your son! My daughter hates a lot of textures, too. Maybe letting her play with some vegetables would help her decide to eat one.

  4. Perfect. I have a son the same age and am always trying to find creative ways to keep him involved with what his sisters are doing. Thanks.

  5. Ironically, as I was reading this, my toddler (29 months) was in the kitchen, tipping out my oats container. Luckily i found her before there was too much mess!
    This does look a fun idea though, thanks 🙂

  6. Pingback: Edible Sensory Box « From somewhere near Mt. Laundry

  7. This is a great idea. I have going through pintrest for sensory ideas for my 18 to 24 month toddler class. This is something we could really do. Thankyou for the great idea.

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