Anyone who has kids knows this isn't a good thing. Being trapped indoors with four bored children is NOT my idea of fun! I reached the point of desperation this afternoon while watching Lily and Liam race through the house. We HAD to go outside before we all went crazy!
Liam is not a fan of the cold (as in anything below 50), so I had to get creative and find something that would keep his mind off the temperature.
I really can't blame him. His typical reaction to the cold is the same as mine.
I scanned my trusty list of activities for kids, and settled on one of Lily's favorite winter activities. It involves our water table, a 10 pound bag of wild bird seed, some scoops and funnels, and bird seed thrown all over the backyard!
The concept for the Seeds and Scoops Sensory Table is really simple and inexpensive. Clean out that water table, collect some kitchen utensils, and buy a cheap bag of wild bird seed that will last for weeks! Water tables are NOT just for water! We use ours for sensory play year-round.
With the exception of summer, we keep our water table on our sun porch. Most of our sensory table play is done there. Even though I can easily sweep the mess out the back door, I like to take the messier activities outdoors. This is definitely classified as messy. (Trust me. I attempted corn kernel play inside our house once and the result was not pretty.)
The BEST part of this activity is that the mess makes everyone happy! The kids don't have to worry about being neat, the wild birds are extremely grateful, and I don't have to clean up the mess because the birds do it for me! It's a win-win situation for everyone involved!
So fill up that table (I use a 10 pound bag of wild bird seed), arm the kids with some tools, and let them play. An added bonus is that they're working on building their OT skills with all that scooping and pouring! (Liam's occupational therapist definitely approves!)
Lily was so excited to "feed the birds" so she immediately dug in. After initially squealing about the 35 degree weather, Liam spotted the table and rushed over. Although Lily (and my older kids) have done this many times, Liam was too young last winter. It definitely captured his attention!
Lily ran back and forth, but for 25 glorious minutes, Liam scooped and poured and touched and tasted (he decided it wasn't very tasty).
When they were done playing, bird seed was scattered all around the table. Just like she did last year, my sweet Lily still had to take the time to feed the birds just a bit more!
Our backyard birds are very grateful!
As for the cleanup, it is so easy! I just toss the kitchen utensils into a sensory play storage container and carry the water table back into the sunporch. It's all ready to go the next time we go outside, and the bird seed usually lasts us a few weeks! (Although I did leave the seed in the table this time, I do have a container on my porch to store bird seed/corn kernels/etc in case I need to use the table for something else.)
Lily loves to scoop the seeds and feed the birds, and it was a hit with Liam, too. I am constantly looking for ways to engage him from a therapy standpoint, and this was a great activity for him! Later, we were able to watch the birds clean up the mess from our kitchen table!
The Seeds and Scoops Sensory Table is a fun sensory activity that helps build essential OT skills, plus it attracts those backyard birds. It's perfect for outdoor play in the winter AND it's a great boredom buster!
Are your children into sensory play or do you shy away from the mess?
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*I'm linking up with Grammie Time for Party at My Place and Holly for While I'm Waiting.