Stella Explores Edible Paint

I am constantly on Pinterest searching for interesting sensory experiences suitable for infants. I do this not only for my 6 month old (Stella) but also as a way to find ideas for the Baby Nido class at my school. One idea I really loved was edible paint consisting of only two ingredients: yogurt and food coloring. I decided to prepare some on this beautiful gloomy morning for my daughter, Stella.

I mixed half a cup of organic plain yogurt with three drops of food coloring in a small bowl.  I did this three times to create three colors for Stella to explore. Then, I placed a blanket outside with Stella’s Boppy underneath to help support her in sitting position and I placed Stella on the blanket. Stella gets so excited when she is exposed to something new that she hardly contains herself. She immediately pushed her body towards the blue shade of yogurt paint and picked it up .

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She put the bowl of blue paint down and thought for a moment.

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She reached for the yellow paint, pushing the blue paint out of the way.

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She picked up the yellow bowl of paint and mouthed the side…her first taste of the yogurt.

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I think she liked it…

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Then, she noticed the puddle of yogurt paint that had gathered by her feet. She rubbed it with her hand for a moment before she decided to explore the purple paint.

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She brought the bowl of purple paint to her mouth. In doing so, the purple paint dripped all over her foot. She noticed the purple paint on her foot and began to rub it with her hands.

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Then, she positioned herself so that she could see the paint on the blanket.

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She sat for a minute, touching the paint on the blanket.

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Then, she sat up and wondered what to do next.

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She stacked the bowls of paint on top of one another and then began to show an interest in the leaves that had fallen near the blanket.

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This experience lasted about 15 minutes which is a great length of time for an infant. Stella was engaged throughout the entire experience. She was quiet, concentrated, and content. Not once did she complain or seem to want the experience to end. When babies first interact with the world, they don’t have words to describe what they encounter, but they do absorb information through their senses. This is why sensory experiences are great for infants. A few benefits of sensory experiences are that they can be therapeutic, they can improve motor skills, they can raise awareness of how the world works, and they can contribute to language acquisition, all while being a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Stella’s Experience in the Baby Nido Class

Stella takes part in so many wonderful experiences while in class at school. She has two wonderful teachers named Ms. Michelle and Ms. Maria . They are dedicated, nurturing, and seem to really enjoy watching as the children explore many new and interesting materials. I, as atelierista, plan with one of her teachers every week. Ms. Michelle and I work closely together to plan special experiences, reflect upon the experiences that have gone on in the classroom, and discuss ideas for the future. Over the past few weeks, Stella has taken part in several amazing experiences. She absolutely loves every new encounter she has. Whenever her teachers place her near a new material, she smiles, moves her arms and legs in excitement, and screams with joy. It’s really special to watch…

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Ms. Michelle and Stella during one special experience.
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Stella explores a special block of ice.

The block of ice is super easy to create. You just take a wipe container, fill it 1/2 way with water, add plants to it, and freeze it.

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Stella explores a sensory bag.

The sensory bag is also really easy to create. You just place oil and water along with a few drops of watercolor in a ziplock bag. You can also duct tape the ziplock  bag to a surface so that it stays stable during the exploration if you’d like.

A Special Invitation: Sensory Dough

Last weekend I prepared several batches of sensory dough. The sensory dough I prepared was comprised of flour, salt, cream of tartar powder, and herbs. I’ll post the recipe below. It’s such a simple and natural recipe that I knew would stimulate the senses while providing children with extended periods of exploration. I decided to prepare a double batch so that I could offer some to the Baby Nido class at my school and some to Dylan and Stella.

I placed a table cloth on our dining table, brought out a few clay tools and cookie cutters, and invited Dylan and Stella to explore.

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Stella immediately grabbed a piece of the dough and began to mouth it. I love how interested she becomes when offered something new to explore. In this case, she was mouthing the dough more than I thought was safe so I tried to pull it from her mouth. I was surprised by how upset she became. She looked so angry as she pulled the dough from my hands and towards her mouth. I was shocked.

 

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My husband took this picture once I gave the dough back to Stella. She immediately began to mouth it again.
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Then, she held the dough out to her brother.
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She began to whine…I think in order to get his attention.

That was a special moment between them for me. Stella is always so interested in what Dylan is doing. I think she really enjoyed this invitation, to explore alongside her brother. It seemed that she was trying to share her discovery with Dylan. Dylan was immersed in his own exploration with the dough so he didn’t really notice her effort in calling his attention. Once she whined, he looked to her and that was enough for Stella.

Stella seemed to be more interested in watching Dylan at this point so I held her in my lap and we watched Dylan together.

Dylan really enjoyed this experience. He was drawn to the chocolate dough. He held it to his nose and commented on how it smelled. I believe he said something like “delicious!”.

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Then, he created a little snowman with the dough. He used different herb-scented balls in creating his snowman. He stayed engaged in this exploration for at least half an hour 🙂

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Sensory Herb-scented Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Herb/Spice (2 tbsp of cocoa powder for batch 1) (1tsp paprika for batch 2) (2 tbsp of pumpkin spice for batch 3) (2 tbsp ground sage for batch 4)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a pot, mix, and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture resembles a ball of dough.
  • Place ball of dough onto a piece of wax paper, let it cool, and then knead until the consistency you desire.

*You have to make a separate batch for each scent.

*I found this recipe on Pinterest. It was originally created by craftulate.com.

Stella’s Sensory Experience…

Today I decided to offer my daughter a special provocation. I prepared some of the noodles that my family made earlier this week and placed them in a plastic tub. Then, I placed Stella in the tub! She was completely engaged as she moved her hands through the ocean of noodles, spreading her fingers to catch a few at a time. She explored the noodles with he hands, with her feet, and with her mouth.  She was captivated.

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Through this experience she was able to work on her gross motor skills (sitting up), her fine motor skills (grabbing at and picking up noodles), her problem-solving skills (thinking about the properties of the noodles, what they’re for, why they stick to her, and how to get them off), and more.  There are so many meaningful connections that this experience helped to facilitate, all while being fun, creative, and messy.

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I should mention that she has these types of encounters daily at her school (which is the school I am a part of). Her teachers constantly tell me how much she loves these types of sensory, open-ended experiences. I, being atelierista, have helped to facilitate special encounters like the one above at school.

Here are a few of the experiences we facilitated at school this month (all featuring my beautiful daughter, of course).

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