Monday, December 3, 2012

Epsom Salt Sensory Play

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We bought a 4 lb carton of Epsom Salt at for around 4 dollars 
and have been playing with it for days as sensory material. 
We've played with regular salt as sensory material before as well, but Epsom Salt has it's own sensory qualities that are different from salt and we've been exploring with it a few different ways this week.

I have many readers ask 
how to keep their children engaged in sensory play and other activities 
The biggest thing I tell them, is to 

This is true for many of our activities, such as our summer of Colored Sand play.
If there are many ways to play with the sensory material or a particular activity, introduce those elements slowly, instead of all at once. This will more than likely keep your children interested in the activity for a longer period of time. This is certainly true in my experience. 

We started out by simply pouring the epsom salt in a plastic container,
adding a few kitchen utensils for play. 

When he tired of the above setup and utensils, he went to play with other things. 
I then replaced those utensils with different ones. Later that day he was back to play again, a renewed interest with the new utensils. 

Even pantsless super heroes love sensory play :)

Baby Play

I've always included my youngest son B (16 mo) in sensory activities since he was old enough to sit up and take interest in sensory material (around 9 months). I do believe that with constant parental supervision, that in most cases babies can safely enjoy most of the sensory activities that older children can. However, use your own parental discretion when choosing sensory material based on your child's behavior and developmental abilities.
**See note at the bottom of post**

Day 2 of our Epsom Salt Sensory Play, 
we decided to add some color and scent!
This is done very simply by adding a few drops of food coloring and any essential oils or extracts that you choose, then simply stirring it to mix. If there are colorful chunks, break them up to spread the color evenly.

Then of course we made a whole new sensory tub!
Dirty kids...dirty shirt. What can I say? Some days we are too busy PLAYING to change from our sleep clothes (which are the clothes we wore the day before) Hey, we do change our underwear though! 
(please tell me someone relates! haha)

and over the course of a few days, we made new batches
of color and scented epsom salt using just the 1 box.

We made 3 different kinds, each infused with different scents with different intended beneficial effects during play

Mellow Out: using purple food coloring and lavender essential oil.
Lavender is known for it's calming and soothing effects.

Wake Up: using yellow food coloring and "Invigorating" essential oil.
"Invigorating" is the name of the essential oil. It smells of citrus, which is known to help wake up and feel more altert.

Get Well Soon: using green food coloring and eucalyptus essential oil.
Eucalyptus scent can clear the sinus' and help with congestion.

(you can also use extracts such as vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon, etc)

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Epsom Salts contain magnesium which is commonly found in laxatives. Epsom salts themselves can actually be ingested in small amounts (diluted with water) to relieve constipation and in small doses it can also flush toxins out of your liver. However, ingested in large amounts, or too much exposure over a prolonged period of time (even taking too many epsom salt baths) can result in magnesium poisoning. Though I was watching the whole time, my youngest (16 mo) doesn't really put non-food items in his mouth so I was completely comfortable with using epsom salts as a sensory material for him. Given their ability to be ingested, even if he would have tasted a tiny bit, I wouldn't have worried. However, a large handful would have been cause for immediate concern so please use your own discretion when deciding what materials your child can safely use for sensory play based on their individual behavior, age, and developmental abilities.

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  1. I stumbled across your blog through pinterest, my sons are 3 and 5, your activities are PERFECT for them! I'm currently doing home preschool with them and was totally out of ideas! I'm so excited to show my sons your awesome ideas, thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. 3 & 5...such fun ages! Hope you guys have a blast :) Thanks for visiting!

  2. Thank you! I've been on a dry spell lately, doing the same old painting and building with my two youngest. Your blog is just what the doctor ordered!

    1. We go through those slumps too. Glad I could help! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  3. one word wud say al i guess. WOW

    my boys r 2 n 3. they will luv this. thanks a lot n share more.

  4. I wish I knew about this when our then two year old had been diagnosed with sensory integration...This would have been such a life saver...especially the edible sensory things..I just started doing some of your suggestions though he is almost 7 now...and it brings back such memories and fun times...thank you for all your time and effort to bring people with sensory issues new are appreciated...and for those without sensory issues...they are just PLAIN fun things to do.

  5. Is EPSOM SALT ok to touch & play with safely (is it not absorbed thru the skin)? I just wanted to ask before I introduce this to my 19 mo old please let me know!!

  6. The purpose of Epsom salt is to be dissolved in the tub to relax your muscles. It is also sometimes ingested on purpose in small amounts to work as a laxative. It is completely safe in small amounts. it is only dangerous if ingested in large amounts or if you take LOTS of these baths with very large amounts of it in the bathwater as then you are risking magnesium poisoning. So no, you would not want your baby to eat this of course, but it is perfectly safe to be handled.

  7. Cool way to enjoy the epsom salt, I just realized now that you could use it as a recreational activity for you and your child. I always thought that the epsom salt is just for cleaning purposes only, thanks for the idea.

  8. you can use kosher salt (same size and feel as epsom salt) its just salt that has not been refined or iodized...and it won't cause the diarrhea... :)


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