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Infant+

I am writing a short series of posts entitled "Super Easy Sensory Play".  Activities included in the series all contain two or fewer ingredients and are items that are generally found in any house, so no need to run to the store for specialty items.  They are also appropriate for all ages.  I hope that you will give them all a try!  You can read the other posts in the series here:

Super Easy Sensory Play:  Soap Foam

Super Easy Sensory Play:  Ice and Warm Water
Super Easy Sensory Play: Dried Pasta
Super Easy Sensory Play: Dirt and Worms
Super Easy Sensory Play:  Wet Cotton Balls


I know that people have come up with lots of fancy names for cornstarch and water, but I always get them confused, so I'm going to stick to the boring (but descriptive, ha!) cornstarch and water.  First off, let me say, this is MY favorite sensory activity ever.  If you have not (and I mean you, the parent) played with cornstarch and water, you really, really need to.  It is the coolest.  If you hold it tightly, it behaves as a solid, but if you release your grip, it turns into this very sticky-looking liquid that makes crazy dripping ribbons.  Whenever we play with it, I *have* to join in.

This was X's first experience with it and I am happy to report that he takes after me in an intense love for it!  He played with it for almost 30 minutes, which in baby-time is basically forever.  :)

To make this all you need is a box of cornstarch and some tap water.  Cornstarch itself is a really neat texture, so sometimes it's fun to play with just the cornstarch for a bit before you even add the water.  I feel like the best word to describe the texture of plain cornstarch is squeaky.  It's very interesting.

  Once you're ready to move on to the next step, empty the cornstarch into a dish (I find it easier to mix with water in a shallow dish like a baking pan, but really any pan/dish will work) and slowly add water.  Err on the side of too little water.  You want just enough that all the cornstarch is wet.  It should be very thick, as you can see in the pictures below.  You can mix the water in by hand yourself, your child can, or you can stir slowly with a spoon - keep mixing until the water is uniformly distributed.

S is an old pro, so she was super excited to show X how it worked.  When S was around 2, she went through a phase where the texture freaked her out and she wouldn't play with it for several months - but then she returned to loving it again.  Phew.


At first he only stuck his fingertips in.  As always, he's inspecting.  :)


But then he really got into it!  I was surprised that he naturally figured out how to squeeze it in his hands to make it feel solid.  He's got a big handful here.


This is his OHMYGOSHTHISISAWESOMEMAMA face.  :)


S really loves it, too.  It's so fun!!!


I love the dual concentration here.


So you may have noticed that the kids are sitting on a sheet...that's because this gets messy.  Really messy.  It's totally cleanable, but it will get everywhere if your kids are playing with it.  You can totally do this play in an empty bathtub if you'd like it easily contained (and then easily transition into baths!).  Setting out a sheet works really well for us; afterwards I just throw it and the kids' clothes in the washing machine and we're good.  You could just play with it on the splat mat, but it can be a bit obnoxious to clean when it's wet (if you had a place to let it dry out first, you could totally just vacuum it off the splat mat, though).  

I hope you won't let the mess stop you from trying it though, because it really is so much fun and such a unique and interesting texture/sensory play!


Yeah...it's a bit messy.



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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. Can't wait to try this! Thanks for encouraging me to step out of my fear of messes... :)

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    1. Hi Meredith! Oh yay! I think you and your adorable little one will have so much fun!

      I've found that coming up with a plan for clean up ahead of time (by using the sheet in this instance) makes the clean up pretty quick and not too unpleasant. Plus seeing their messy, happy faces makes it all worth it. :)

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  2. My kids love to stick their feet in it. A favorite @ our house as well!

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    1. Yes! Feet almost always eventually make their way into our sensory plays as well. :) Did you know that if you get a pool of this and RUN, you can basically walk on it? I realllllly want to try it. :)

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  3. I didn't have any cornstarch left so I tried with plain flour. My son put a few fingers in, licked and alsmot threw up (actually did threw up a tiny bit) then cried until I cleaned his hands... Some other time I guess, and maybe with proper cornstarch next time

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    1. Oh no, so sorry! I hope he doesn't have a wheat allergy. :( Sorry it didn't go well for you.

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  4. How old was your son in those pictures?

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    1. Good question! 10-11 months? Somewhere in that range. With close supervision, of course, I feel like any infant that is able to sit up on their own will enjoy this - however, as they get older their attention span will get longer and they will be able to interact and explore more and more as each month passes. So it's totally up to you when to introduce it!

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  5. SO MUCH FUN! Just wanted to say how happy i was to find your site! This just capped off a perfect first day of summer vacation. Not sure who had more fun, my daughter or I. Wish i had heard of this years ago, she is almost 4. I will definitely be checking out more fun stuff for us to do!! Thanks for posting all this good stuff!!!!!

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    1. Hi GroovyEm! So glad you found us. And SO glad to hear the cornstarch and water was a hit. It's my favorite, too. I always have to jump in and play with the kids because it is just too weird and amazing to not do so!! S is almost 4, so there should be plenty here and upcoming for your daughter to do. :) And if you had fun with this, you two have to try this one:

      http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/05/chilly-ice-cream-goo.html

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice comment! Hearing stuff like this always makes my day! :)

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  6. Mess is also my fear and the fear of my son injesting all sorts of stuff! He pute EVERYTHING into his mouth, is this ok?

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    1. Hi Unknown,

      Let's see. First - this is a very messy one! You can check out some of our other Super Easy Sensory Plays if you're looking for one that is less messy. :) Or you could always do this in the bathtub or outside on the grass. Second, this is food - but I'm not sure that eating a whole tub of cornstarch would be the best idea. If there are no family allergies to corn and your son is eating solid food, I would not worry about a few tastes of cornstarch, but I personally wouldn't want a kiddo sitting there shoveling mouthfuls of it if that makes sense. If you were looking for a play he could really just sit and eat if he wanted to do so, I'd recommend our oatmeal play. If you were going to discourage active eating of this one, it should be fine. Hope that helps! :)

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  7. Is this reusable? Do you ever store in a air tight container?

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    1. Hi Barker98! Since it is food, it unfortunately will mold. We used cornstarch in our frozen edible ice cream recipe and were able to reuse it for weeks with it frozen, but I've heard that even in the fridge it will start molding after a day or two. :(

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  8. Not a great idea to use in the bathtub. The cornstarch will clog up the pipes!

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  9. Sounds great. My son is 14 months now, can't wait to try all these amazing ideas on your blog. Thank you very much for sharing! Would it be possible to colour the cornstarch-water-mix, and if yes, with food colouring or liquid watercolours?

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    1. Awesome! Yes to both - though if he's likely to taste, stick to the food coloring. :)

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  10. We tried this today - this stuff is so cool!! Bub is 8 months and he was definitely interested...I expect more so as he gets older!! I noticed the more it's handled, the more liquified it becomes so we stopped the play after 10 mins or so...I went back to it a little later and the original properties had come back!! Tomorrow we do rice play!! Love your blog!! Thank you ☺️

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    1. How interesting! It should actually become more solid as you play and more water evaporates. I'm glad it worked out eventually!!! And hope you love the rice play. Thank you! <3

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  11. Hi!I'm an italian mum , and i want to thank yuo for all the amazing ideas you posted.
    I've got a little girl about 10 months and i find yuor blog by chance and i 'm very grateful to you because now she can play and discover with different materials !
    than you very much and i apologize if i make some mistakes ;)

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    1. Questo mi rende così felice! Grazie mille per la vostra nota. Sono così felice di sentire che voi e il vostro bambino si diverte! <3 <3 <3

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  12. I really enjoy reading these fun at home with kids blogs! I can't wait to try them out with my baby!!! =) =)

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