I look back to admire my work after a day spent digging and planting in the yard and I am horrified by what I see….10 gigantic holes in the flowerbed between each of my beautiful plants, piles of dirt randomly spread everywhere on my patio, and my son’s face smiling wide as he holds out a handful of worms. “Mom, look what I found!” He says, delighted with himself. Instantly, my panicked heart melts. I head over to see the slimy little guys that are making my son so happy. Worms. Then I got smart. Rather than having my yard dug up every time my kiddo wants to go on a worm hunt, I created a sensory tub that sits right on the deck near where I am planting. He enjoys his fun without messing up mine! A match made in heaven. And we even came up with a few fun ways to put those fine motor skills to the test to make our own worms! Here’s how it works…
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Large bin, dirt, flavored coffee grounds, worms! (real and our pretend versions below of your choice)
WHAT TO DO: Combine regular dirt with flavored coffee grounds in a large tub. The coffee grounds just add an alerting scent to this fun sensory play experience. If your child dislikes the smell, simply leave it out. Allow your child to add real worms to the bin. We love sensory activities that also have a fine motor twist! Let him create his own worms that can be played with in the dirt bin time and time again this summer!
1. Aluminum foil worms: Tear small sheets of aluminum foil and allow your child to pinch, twist, and scrunch the foil into worm-like rolls. They are perfect for bending and coiling to look just like real worms move! Bury them into the dirt.
2. Thin rope or heavy yarn worms: Get your child a pair of scissors and have him snip 4-5 inch sections of heavy yarn or rope to create wiggly worms to hide. Great cutting practice!
3. Grab a pair of panty hose. Cut them into 4-5 inch sections. Tie off one open end. Fill with a small amount of dirt or rice. Tie off the opposite end, creating fat or skinny pretend worms. Bury them into the dirt.
4. Grab a bag of fishing bait worms at the store for the ultimate sliminess of a real worm!
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-Kids can enjoy this play with their hands, shovels, tongs, toes, or cups to dig around and capture the worms.
-Count the worms, line them up, put them in order from biggest to smallest!
-Hide one worm at a time for a great challenge!
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Bilateral coordination, fine motor skills, grasp, sensory integration, visual motor integration
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Looking for more information about sensory processing and more fun sensory activities for kids?
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