This post is part of a 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:

I knew I wanted to do something with oats - and whatever it was, I wanted to capitalize on the ability of oats to form a dough.  So eventually I settled on this set up: one bin of plain whole oats, one bin of oat powder (I used our food blender to finely chop the oats), and one small bin of water.  I figured S would make the connection to mix them all...and if not, X would dump everything and they'd naturally discover the dough once it was all combined.

X went straight for the whole oats, while S dove for the oat powder and immediately started mixing it into the water.

She told me she was "cooking" something.  :)

X loved the whole oats.  He spent quite some time just smooshing his hand around in them.

And examining big handfuls, of course, which he then dropped into his lap.

S asked for a spoon for stirring - she preferred to do the scooping by hand.

It was neat to see the big chunks of oats mix in with the fine oat powder.  And the water almost immediately started looking like milk.  It smelled delicious, too, just like cooking up oatmeal!

Finally X decided he was ready to inspect the other containers.  He briefly touched the powder, and then wanted to check out the water sister was so busy with.  This very shortly led to him dumping the water (to get a closer look at the container it was in).

So S and I decided it was probably time to dump the other two containers and S set to work mixing everything together by hand.

Meanwhile X was mesmerized by the oatmeal residue from the water container.  At first he was just bringing it very close to his face and dragging his fingers through it.

But then he decided he needed an even closer look.  He didn't really eat any of it...but he did smoosh his face right against it.

And came out looking like this cute little oatmeal baby.

He was really interested in the dough ball I made from S's mixture.

He squished and squashed until the whole dough ball broke into pieces.  Then he spent some time checking out each of his oatmeal covered fingers.  Though he's making one of his weird faces here, he really did enjoy the sticky texture of the dough.  He kept grabbing big chunks of it over and over.

Ironically, despite the oatmeal mess that was my little guy - S was perfectly clean (minus some gooey hands).  He had so much fun exploring the oatmeal with his whole body - even his hair - ha!

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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.


  1. Love X's expression after checking out the residue in the container. He seems like such a character :)

  2. I just tried rolled oats in my 16-month old's first sensory bin, but wow never thought of grinding the oats. Oh.... my kids are going to love it. I smell messy play comin' up!

    1. Yay! Thank you, Adora! Hope you all have some great fun! :)

  3. I love your book! My little guy and I (he is 6 months old) played with dry oats today and he had a BLAST! The only thing is he ended up getting a crushed oat in his eye. Got any suggestions to protect those little eyeballs?

    1. Aw, buddy! Would he keep baby sunglasses on? We usually played with my baby in my lap and I had both hands free to keep him from putting his hands in his eyes. So sorry for the discomfort! And glad he otherwise had a great time! :)


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