On Wednesday evening I read this post about an amazing mother’s creative plans for Valentine’s day play with her toddler twins, even while her heart is breaking for the loss of her baby daughter less than two weeks ago. If she can do it, then I have no excuse, so yesterday morning I made some ice cubes with red food colouring in the water, ready for some messy play in the afternoon. I couldn’t find my heart ice cube moulds, so it wasn’t quite as Valentine-themed as it might have been, but I don’t think the children minded having Hello Kitty, Lego and star ice cubes instead.
In the afternoon, we found some sparkly bits in our craft stash and put them in a large plastic crate with some water. (We are going to do it again this afternoon, this time with the sparkles frozen in the ice cubes which I think will be even more fun.) The children enjoyed pouring the water into the crate and then ran to get some bath toys (first just one boat, and later some more boats and a dolphin) to put in before adding the ice cubes and watching them melt and turn the water red.
There was lots of tipping and splashing and stirring, and a certain amount of inevitable ice cube eating. They loved playing with all the different shaped ice cubes, and also enjoyed the patterns left on the plate that was under the star ice cube tray in the freezer.
They were having so much fun that when the ice had all melted they wanted more, so I found some extra plain ice cubes in the freezer. And then Rabbit started rummaging in the freezer, looking for anything else she could put in, which is where it got a bit random. I let her put some frozen green beans in, which made her and Tiddler very happy, and they started eating them too. Rabbit still wanted more, so I let her put some raisins in, which they happily played with, fished out and ate. I was a little bit worried about them accidentally eating the sparkly bits though, so I think I’ll lay the ground rules today, and no food will be going in. And then another day, we might do it with everything edible, but not a mixture of both!
So that’s how to do Valentine’s day sensory play in a completely haphazard and random way. If you want a more sensible, organised version, read Jennie’s account of her twins enjoying their ice and water play, and even getting in and having a paddle. Although the same activity developed in different ways, in both cases it was good old messy child-led fun. Thank you Jennie for the inspiration.