1. Rescue the toys from the Jell-O
This one is super easy and in-expensive! The only downfall I’d say is the Jell-O can make quite the mess, so I recommend going outside or putting a towel down. I also do not recommend too cute of clothes.
All I did was grab a mixing bowl, make Jell-O in the mixing bowl and before putting it in the refrigerator, I grabbed a few toys that can easily be cleaned and dropped them into the mixture. Once the Jell-O was done, Calihan had a fun time grabbing the toys out of the Jell-O since it was all a new texture for him! We did this activity when he was roughly 6.5 months old! The smile was worth the cleanup!
2. Colored Rice
Calihan loves grabbing random items so I decided for the rice I wanted to keep him involved! I used a packet of rice, tin foil, paint (that is non-toxic), zip lock bags, and a baking pan.
I wanted to give him three different colors, so we did orange/red, blue, and green. I divided the rice into three different plastic bags and put the colored paint into the bag to mix with the rice. I then let Calihan play around with one closed bag while I did the other to get the paint to stick to the rice. Once the rice is covered, pour the rice into the baking pan (make sure the tin foil is down before you do this to save the pan) to let dry. The rice does not take very long to dry, but of course we had an advantage with this Texas sun. Once dry, you can mix the rice together or keep it separate in columns. Either way works! This is a fun activity for all ages, but a useful tip is to make sure it is not placed in their mouth. I used the pacifier trick only because my son is into his pacifier. This is a great activity for your little one to be able to grab a handful at a time. Plus the colors are fun for photos!
3. Keepsake Canvas
The same paint used for the activity above can be used to paint a canvas! In this photo because the canvas was currently sold out everywhere (pandemic), we used a thicker sheet of paper. In order for this to easily be saved I would recommend a canvas now that they are available again! All you have to do is put a few splatters of different colored paint onto the canvas. Then slide the canvas into a large plastic bag. This way your little one can mess around pushing the paint down without making a mess. Tip: try not to get paint on the zipper part of the plastic bag when putting the canvas in or your child might get some paint on them.
I put Calihan in his highchair for this to make it easier for him to the move the paint around! (do not mind his wild hair as we struggled to cut off his locks) Take the canvas out and let it dry outside the bag to prevent any sticking. I love this activity for a fun way to make a keepsake!
4. Fishing for toys
All you need for this activity is Tupperware, some bath toys, and water. The activity is quite simple and if anything spills at least it’s just water! This is a great one to do outside in nice weather or in our case we propped him up on the boppy to support him as he reached in for the bath toys.
5. Make Shift Ball Pit
Calihan was not easily entertained in the pack n’ play if my husband or myself had to do something like the dishes. I found the absolute best trick of finding colorful ball pit balls from Target and putting them in the pack n’ play to keep him busy! These are also available at Walmart, and Amazon. I would encourage to not do this unless your child can sit up on their own / crawl just for safety reasons, but this is a way cheaper way than spending money on a big ball pit!
6. Muffin Pan Color Learning
Another use for the balls from the ball pit is this activity! I woke up one day with Calihan and thought I wonder if the ball pit balls would fit into a muffin pan. Sure enough, they did! He had a blast picking them up and putting them back down while we also learned colors! We spent a good hour and a half re-arranging, listening to me talk about the colors, and him laughing when I would toss them up in the air to land where they needed to. Highly recommend!!
Entire Sensory Board
Last but not least, why do-little sensory activities when you can make an activity board for cheap?! I’m sure objects can also be picked up from the dollar store, but I grabbed random objects from target that were inexpensive. I attached them to a side of a diaper box that I painted with the paint from above in activities 2 & 3. He loved touching the new objects that he has not really felt before. After this activity, I honestly felt like he was incredibly Intune with his surroundings. We attached the board to his wall where he could reach after we were done so he could crawl to the sensory board whenever he liked. This was used quite frequently!
I hope you are able to enjoy these activities with your little one!