The Dark Side of Sensory Play

I am all for sensory play. Love it. So many benefits for small hands & young brains. There are brilliant ideas for it everywhere you look! And of course the children love it and get so much enjoyment & learning from it too.

But there is a dark side to sensory play… you probably haven’t read about it before… and you definitely haven’t seen it on Pinterest!

With a 4 year old & a 2 year in my possession, I am in prime sensory play territory. And we have accumulated quite a collection of paraphernalia that goes with it.

Here is a rundown of the not-so-feckin-lovely side of sensory play in my house…

Sand; I mean, it’s all good until the tarmac is covered in it, and no amount of sweeping seems to gather it… And did you know that sand in between patio slabs is a weed’s dream environment? Well now you do.

Water; mix it with dirt carefully gathered from the garden & you have a wonderful house painting media…

Moonsand: so easy to make your own! Flour, cocoa powder, oil, its like the real thing! So satisfying… until you have to hoover it up & you end up having to dismantle the entire vacuum cleaner to clear it out.

Knex/ Lego: amazing for developing motor skills & pre-writing hand strength; also amazing for making grown adults scream so loud that the windows shudder as they walk on random pieces thrown around the room.

Playdoh; a timeless favourite! A must-have if you enjoy scraping lumps of it out of toy crevices & soles of shoes with a toothpick… (pro-tip, don’t bother, it will fall out when its dry!)

And my latest and most epic sensory play dark side discovery… Tuff Trays.

I loved the Tuff Trays that I admired online every day on bloggers’ pages and friends’ snaps and ordered one for my boys. So much potential! Couldn’t wait to get it set up & watch them play for hours… ahem…

I partitioned it into sections so I could add different materials and you know, really enhance the sensory experience for my children… one section was couscous, the other was homemade moonsand, the 3rd section empty for toys.

It was all going so well until I came into the kitchen one day while the boys were out on bikes, and I heard a terrifyingly familiar rustling noise coming from the Tuff Tray…

Oh you guessed it.

A feckin mouse.

In the tray.

In my kitchen.

Having a couscous pool party.

So I did as most of us would do; shrieked, summoned my husband to “get it!”, and a while later, dumped the entire contents of the tray into a refuse sack…

I definitely did not see THAT on Pinterest! Bitter, bitter disappointment.

I am still a huge advocate of sensory play in all its forms… but please be aware & prepared for its house-wrecking, head-wrecking, and potentially furry Dark Side.

P.S. if you are on the lookout for a Tuff Tray, I know somebody selling one at a really good price…!

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