Are you looking for new ways to keep the family happy and entertained at home? We have a few ideas that you might want to try, for children (and adults) of all ages!

Sensory play is an important way in which children can understand the world around them using all the senses. Our ideas will allow young children to develop an awareness of their senses and use gross and fine motor skills, while having fun and getting a little bit messy. They are also relatively inexpensive ways of keeping children entertained. NB – Marhaba accepts no liability for the amount of fun you’ll have and any cleaning bills!

Baby safe cloud dough

Babies like to play, and put things in their mouth. It can be hard keeping the small people amused especially if they simply must eat everything that comes to hand. Here is something that they can quite safely play with and has just two ingredients!

Cloud dough is made from one cup of baby rice cereal and approximately three tablespoons of oil – you can use coconut, vegetable or whatever is at hand. Mix together and let the mixture cool. The dough can then be made into whatever you like, letting your baby use his hands or by putting a spoon in the bowl – and you can be reassured that even if it does end up in baby’s mouth, it is completely safe. Older kids need not feel left out either, as they can use the dough to make cookies, with some added sugar powder as desired.

Foam doughFoam dough

Another good one for the senses is foam dough, and again is just two basic ingredients. Chances are Dad is growing a beard if he is self-isolating, so now is a good time to ‘borrow’ his shaving foam. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of shaving foam
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • Food colouring and glitter (optional)
  • Playdough accessories (optional)

Squirt the shaving foam in to a bowl, add the food colouring now if you’re using it, add the cornstarch to thicken and knead it all together. If the mixture is too wet, add more cornstarch; if it’s too dry add more shaving foam. The beauty of foam dough is that there’s no wrong answer and as it doesn’t store particularly well, you’ll just have to use it all at once and make another batch next time!

Taste safe slime

Now this is one super sticky fun mess of a thing, so look away now if you’re of a nervous disposition. Still reading? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups of water
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • 3-4 cups of cornstarch

Mix the chia seeds, water and food colouring together, cover and refrigerate overnight. Next day, add the cornstarch one cup at a time, keep mixing and adding the cornstarch until you have your desired consistency. It should be slimy but easily taken off the hands. This will store well in the fridge – add a little more water each time you use it.

Taste safe paint

Children of all ages love to paint. Keep a good supply of paper available (or walls), clear a suitable space and use these DIY taste safe paints. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Food colouring

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add a few drops of food colouring to the water and pour into the bowl. Stir well, getting rid of any lumps. Add more or less water to the mixture depending on your desired consistency and colour choice. These should keep in the fridge for up to six months. The paint will work with brushes and sponges, but obviously finger painting is much better.

Taste safe paint

Salt dough

This is a fun, super easy activity for children. They can let their imaginations run wild creating all sorts of exciting objects and having hours of fun painting their creations (see paint recipe above). Be careful here though, as salt dough is not edible for either children or animals, so please don’t let them eat it or feed it to the dog.

It takes about 10 minutes to prep and about three hours to bake, and it is worth deciding beforehand what theme you are going for – some ideas include making animals for a farm or zoo, flowers and trees for a garden – or use the dough to make handprints. Larger items will take longer to bake in the oven, and simple designs will work better than more complicated ones.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of table salt
  • 1/2 cup of water

Preheat the oven to the lowest setting and line a baking sheet with baking parchment or waxed paper. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, add the water and stir until it forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface or silicon baking sheet and let the children make their chosen shapes, using a rolling pin, biscuit cutters, or freeform. Put the finished items on the lined baking sheet and bake for three hours or until they have become hard. Leave to cool and then paint.

Author: Sarah Palmer

Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.