“Think of a wonderful thought, any merry little thought…You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!” I can’t seem to get this song out of my head lately, as my little one’s new favorite movie is Peter Pan. She has become so enamored with this movie that we now all go by Peter Pan character names. Daddy is now Peter, I am referred to as “mother” just as Wendy calls her mom, and our daughter is of course Wendy. So this sensory play idea was inspired by what else but the classic Peter Pan.
One of my daughter’s favorite parts in the movie is the scene in Mermaid Lagoon, so I thought it might be fun to do a mermaid themed activity. I happened to have a couple containers of vase filler that my daughter calls jewels, which made coming up with an activity a cinch!
Sensory activities are almost always a hit with little ones. What kid doesn’t like being able to get messy and play without rules? In this sensory activity, the textures of the rice against the smooth jewels make it all the more interesting and inviting for exploration!
Here’s our Mermaid Jewel Hunt sensory play activity!
Vase filler or jewels of various colors and sizes
*Note: Please make sure you only use items that are appropriate for the age of your child and supervise this activity, as small marble like jewels can be a choking hazard.*
Mix the rice and jewels together in a clear bin. You can also add glitter like we did for some “mermaid dust”. It just makes the water sparkly and dusts their hands with glitter as they search for the treasure. Cover with water.
Set up the play station with shovels, scoopers, bowls, etc. Anything they can use to scoop, separate, or sort will work!
Next, just let them play! Encourage your child to search for the jewels and put them into a bowl when they find them!
After they are done sifting through the “sand”, turn this activity into a sorting game. Put out bowls, cups, or even an ice cube tray and have your child sort the jewels. This is a great time to talk about colors, shapes, sizes, textures, etc.
Above all, be sure you let your child explore and be creative during this activity. Sometimes we need to be reminded that messes can be cleaned up. I know that I tend to try and keep everything clean while we play, and it takes everything in me to stop myself from trying to keep her from making a mess during sensory play time. I know how important it is for them to have free play, and honestly, childhood isn’t childhood if they can’t get a little messy!
Do you encourage sensory play at your home? What are some of your favorite sensory play ideas?