Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seashell Letter Match Sensory Bin with Coconut Cloud Dough Sand

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This sensory bin was inspired by this seashell alphabet sand bin on Rockabye Butterfly.  I thought it was so much fun.  Plus, alphabet activities are always a hit with both of my boys.  So to explore an ocean/beach theme, I put together our own version of a seashell alphabet sensory bin.

An example of the seashell letters.
Using seashells that I purchased from the dollar store, I wrote letters on the inside of each seashell using permanent marker.  I made one for each uppercase letter and one for each lowercase letter.  All the uppercase letters were one color, while the lowercase letters were another.

Another example of a seashell letter.
No beach is complete without sand.  Since we've never made cloud dough before, I thought it would be fun to make some for this bin.  However, I put my own spin on the typical cloud dough recipe (8 cups of flour, 1 cup of oil) by turning it into "tropical sand."  Using coconut oil, I made coconut cloud dough, which smelled AMAZING!  I also mixed flours to imitate the color of sand.
Coconut Cloud Dough Sand
  • 4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  •  1 cup of coconut oil
 Mix all the ingredients together using a fork, spoon, whisk, or fingers.
Then I laid all the seashells, letters facing down, on the coconut cloud dough sand, hoping the boys would eventually match the uppercase with the lowercase letters.

Beach in a box, mixed with some alphabet fun!

J was quite hesitant about the cloud dough at the start.  He worked quickly to remove it from the seashells, shaking his hands off as soon as the shell was clean.  It's like he didn't want to touch it at all.

Carefully removing the seashells.

Taking away the "sand" to reveal the letter.
J shaking his hand off.
But it wasn't long before he climbed in and started making footprints in the "sand."

Into the bin he goes.

J's footprint in the "sand."
J also managed to complete the task of matching uppercase and lowercase letters.

J matching some letters.  "Look, mom, they're the same.  Good job!"
Some of the letters J matched up.
Shortly after K woke up from his nap, I presented the bin to him to see what he would think.  Well, he loved the cloud dough.  He tasted it, threw it, sifted it through his fingers, and molded it into balls.

Oh, what is this stuff?!
J and K exploring the bin together.
Two boys in a beach themed bin.
K squishing some cloud dough in his hands.
One of K's sand balls.
Now there's one thing about cloud dough I should mention.  It can get messy quick!  So I would recommend taking it outdoors, especially if your kids enjoy throwing or dumping sensory materials.

And now it's time to dump the bin!
And throw it around.
K is trying to clean some of it up.
The back of K's shirt after J sprinkled some "sand" all over him.
Everything about this bin was a hit.  It smelled great.  It was amazing to touch; so soft and silky.  And there was some education tossed in too.  Since we were outside, clean up was a breeze too.