Here I have compiled a list of items that I think I are essential to stress free sensory play especially when it comes to that most feared "messy play"

1) A waterproof mat

I would advise measuring the area you plan to use most for play and then visiting your local fabric store. There you should find waterproof material on a roll, this way you can purchase a piece that will cover the space you have and help keep messier play more relaxed. The bigger the area covered the less likely you are to worry about the mess escaping or in my case the mess covered child escaping the "safe zone" The great thing about it is once the play has come to an end you can simply scoop up the mat and remove it for cleaning. Waterproof tablecloths are available from most large supermarkets and work just as well.

2) Wipes or a cloth

Although I tend not to worry too much about a little bit of mess, I have come to learn that wipes are your best friend in these situations. I now never start a messy session without first making myself and any other participants aware of the wipes location and insure the top is open and a wipe is sneakily  
 poking out the top! This is due to my realisation that despite your best efforts and regardless of how careful you are, you will at some point take your eye of the ball and may find yourself as I have many times, having to grab a wipe at short notice and dive across your living room to avoid *insert sticky substance here* from being smeared into *insert hard to clean possession here*

3) Containers/jars

I have a selection of containers stored under my sink which I keep purely for play. These are dishes which are safe for my son (non-breakable) and I am in no way precious about meaning I am happy to fill them with substances which may stain, mark or stick to them! A lot of these are recycled containers from take-aways, food stuffs etc. A good example of why these are usefull is my numerous attempts at home-made silly putty none of which worked but each required a large amount of PVA glue!
Many play materials can be used over and over again for example coloured rice or sand, for these I recycle glass jars and not only does it make the next play session much easier to set up and save money on new materials it can also look really pretty!

Blue salt and assorted blue sequins

4) Easy painters

I managed to pick up a set of kids easy painters super cheap and I swear by them! They are essentially bingo dabbers and these would work just the same I assume. I love a good hands in paint session but there isn't always time in the day to set up and then clean up such a session thats when these bad boys come into play. The bottles are really easy for little hands to grasp but the best bit is how quickly the paint dries, stopping any smearing onto clothing or skin. It means Dylan can explore his creative side almost anytime he likes and I don't have to worry about tidying up!

5) A Camera

Anyone who knows me personally will vouch for the fact that I literally do not go anywhere without my camera. I document almost every moment of my sons life and I know that isn't for everyone but for me it is just natural to be constantly photographing our lives. If nothing else I would recommend capturing at least a few snaps of your day to day play sessions as I love being able to look back at photos and remember how we felt during the activity and I find it amazing to see how differently Dylan reacts to things as he grows and learns.

6) A survival blanket

 You know the big silver blanket they wrap around those nutters who run marathons? Well those blankets can provide endless fun for a little person. They can be used like a parachute when theres 2 people to gently lift and drop it, they can be layed on the floor for the dreaded tummy time and my personal favourite they make an amazing distraction! When my son is getting frustrated and fed up while stuck in the house I just whip it out and the lovely crunchy noise alone is enough to distract him and re-focus his attention. A real must have.


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