This was the most low-key, but possibly the most fun, week yet. It was also a smaller group, with about 55 people in attendance. New stuff included:
(Homemade*) play dough and pasta: I put out play dough and interesting dried pasta shapes (bowties, rotini, penne). The kids played with it and made fun creations. Simple, but a hit.
Sensory bins with shredded paper: If you want to try sensory bins but don’t want a mess to clean up, you definitely have to try this. Just gather up some paper from the recycling bin, run it through a shredder, and let the kids play. They had way more fun than you would think! Highlights included throwing it in the air, throwing it at other people, and being buried in a pile of it. Bonus: easy clean up! Gather it up and put it in a big bag to reuse another week.
Water play: We are lucky to have a small patio attached to our children’s department, although it doesn’t get used much. (The space isn’t well-suited for programs and it’s tucked away–many of our patrons don’t even realize it’s there.) The weather was perfect this day, so we pulled out some water toys, filled some large containers with water, and let the kids go to town. By about 25 minutes into the program, everyone had abandoned the program room for the patio/water toys. They were a huge hit! We’ll probably keep bringing them out whenever the weather is nice.
*When I’m using play dough in a toddler program, I like to make it.** Some of my co-workers think I’m nuts (since it’s easier to buy it), but I like the texture and that it’s made of edible ingredients. (You know, for the toddlers who want to taste it.) I know Play-Doh is non-toxic, but I just feel better knowing exactly what’s in my play dough. Plus it’s cheap and easy to make. I generally put out the recipe so interested caregivers can make it at home.
**I use this recipe from Hellobee, although I halve the oil. I usually use the Americolor Food Coloring (purchased from Hobby Lobby), although I’ve subbed Kool-Aid or even Jell-O powder.