Sunday, August 02, 2015

Alligator Small World Sensory Play for Kids

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Looking for small world play ideas for kids? Try this fun alligator small world sensory play activity.

My boys are just starting to really enjoy telling stories on their own. And I find that pretend play small worlds are a perfect way to encourage their storytelling. So I set up this really fun alligator bubbling swamp small world for them. 

This activity was a perfect blend of science and sensory play. It even worked on fine motor skills and encouraged lots of imaginative pretend play. My kids loved it!

In fact, my boys played with this particular small world for almost an hour and a half! Which if you have small kids is like a reeeeeally long time.

So are you ready to recreate this alligator small world sensory play idea at home? Let's do this!

Alligator sensory bin and small world play idea for kids

What You'll Need for this Alligator Small World Sensory Play Activity

Here's what we used for this alligator small world activity:

  • Soap foam - Made from mixing liquid soap with a splash of water and whipped until bubbly and foamy
  • Liquid watercolors - A combination of blue, green, and black was used to create our swamp or lagoon for the alligators.
  • Baking soda - Mix it into the soap foam. It will be used to make the swamp bubble a bit.
  • Squirt bottles filled with vinegar - This is what will turn our swamp into an alligator bubbling swamp small world.
  • Fake grass and plants - You could add small pebbles too. Really anything to make this sensory small world look more swamp-like.
  • Alligator figures - Kind of need alligators to make an alligator sensory bin, right?
To make soap foam, I prefer to just use a foam hand soap dispenser. I let the boys pump the dispenser to work on fine motor skills. However, you can also make soap foam by mixing liquid soap and a splash of water with a hand blender, electric mixer, or stand mixer. 

Once we had enough soap foam to cover the bottom of our plastic bin, I added some liquid watercolors and a generous amount of baking soda. The amount of baking soda you use will depend on the amount of soap foam you make, but I likely used about 1/2 cup or so. Then my boys took turns mixing the soap foam, liquid watercolors, and baking soda until it was well combined. 

To finish off the alligator swamp, I added two alligators and some fake grass.

Alligator small world sensory bin with soap foam

Your Kids are Going to Love this Sensory Alligator Swamp!

The boys, armed with squirt bottles of vinegar, started adding vinegar to the soap foam and baking soda mixture. Instantly, the swamp started to transform into a really spooky swampland, bubbling and foaming around the alligators.

Science and imaginative play are combined in this alligator swamp sensory bin

The bubbles were also perfect for the alligators to hide and swim in. It was at this point that my boys started telling stories about the alligators, describing them on their various adventures. They continued to do this for an hour and a half. An hour and a half, people. Anything that keeps toddlers and preschoolers busy that long is a win in my book. Definitely going to file this under successful sensory bins for kids.

Preschooler playing with an alligator in a small world sensory bin

Kid playing with an alligator in a sensory bin

While the science experiment part of this activity is fun, the soap foam alone is a great sensory experience for little hands! Especially since the baking soda makes the soap foam feel a bit gritty at times. I still can't believe how much fun my boys had with this activity.

Blue-green soap foam sensory play for kids

Other Small World Ideas You'll Love

This alligator small world sensory play idea is part of the Small World Pretend Play Ideas from A to Z series hosted by Still Playing School. I encourage you to pop on over and check out all of the other fun preschool and toddlers activities in this series.

Alligator swamp sensory bin and small world activity for toddlers and preschool kids