Montessori Baby: Sensory Play and Salt Dough Handprints

As I've mentioned in the past, I try my best to find the joy in the mundane.  Sometimes it's tough to remember to stop and explain what you're doing to your little one (even if they may not completely understand) - when it's second nature, it's easy to breeze through and forget there's a little baby wondering what just happened!

For that very reason, I try to plan little activities for Elijah and I to do together.  I can't blame mommy-ADD with a focused task!  

Montessori explains that sensory learning is the obvious first learning method for children from birth...sensory play is used to refine their senses as they grow.  

This week?  Salt dough!  Perfect as a tactile exercise, making salt dough will facilitate the explanation of textures such as rough, smooth, grainy...and states of matter such as liquid, solid, etc.  

Now I'm not crazy - I know that my kid is only 13 months old and will not be grasping these concepts outright...

...it's really just a way to sound smart while I play with flour and salt :D

Whenever I plan on doing something messy, we set up in the kitchen...and I pretty much always follow up an activity with some water play.  Elijah may splash water everywhere, but it makes for an easy cleanup!

I also try to establish a workspace for Eli so that he knows he has boundaries for the activity.  In the kitchen, I tend to use a nice sized tupperware for him to play in because they have taller sides to contain spills.

Needless, to say, every time he sees me take out the tupperware, he is ready to go!




The recipe for salt dough is super simple.  

Salt Dough


1/2 c salt
1/2 c flour (I use wheat flour sometimes...the color is just awesome for crafts if you like the 'natural' look.)
1/4 c water (pour a little at a time...you may need more or less)


Mix it all up to form dough.


After plenty of play time, I decided what better to do with the dough than make some handprints?  They make awesome gifts for loved ones!


To harden the dough you can let it sit out for a few days, or you can bake it in the oven at 200 degrees for a few hours.  I did 3.5 hours but it could probably use a little longer in my oven.

Then I cut out some felt and stuck it on the underside...this way the handprints won't scratch whatever they're sitting on!

Finally...we added some paint (I used brown gouache, super watered down)...and voila!


Sensory play and crafts all rolled into one!

What are some activities you like to do with your kid?  Are there any you absolutely hate?

Until next time...enjoy the little people in your lives!

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