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I've come down with an incurable case of the travel bug. Being in Europe makes traveling so easy, I just want to go EVERYWHERE! But then, reality sets in, and I realize it's probably unwise to plan a six week backpacking trip through the Swiss alps with the kids. Oh bother. Currently, I'm obsessed with wanting to see the Aurora Borealis. This is the best season for it and tourists are heading up in droves to the arctic circle to stay in class ceilinged igloos and watch the heavens open up. Some day, I will go, but for today, I decided to set up a sensory bin around my current wanderlust.

Clean Mud RecipeWe began by whipping up a batch of clean mud which is 1 bar of grated Ivory soap, 1 roll of shredded toilet paper and two cups of water. Add the water slowly so that you don't end up with a runny mixture. It ends up being very moldable, and only sticks to your hands a little bit, if it's runny add more toilet paper.

Ivory Soap ExplosionThen, we made an Ivory soap explosion by cutting a bar of soap in half and microwaving 1/2 for a minute (900 watts). Using the full bar will result in it overflowing your microwave, it gets BIG! If your explosion deflates when you take it out then it wasn't microwaved long enough, but you can pop it back in for a few more seconds. The end result is very fragile and crumbles easily, making the perfect faux snow!

Learning, art and sensory play all combine in this Aurora Borealis Sensory Bin! Learn about the arctic tundra environment by playing with clean mud and making an ivory soap explosion, then paint the sky!This is the invitation I set up for the kids, I set up the sensory bin with the clean mud, Ivory soap explosion mountains, some ice gems and blue water gems and of course a few arctic animals. Then, I taped a sheet of poster board to the back of the bin and got out the watercolors!

Learning, art and sensory play all combine in this Aurora Borealis Sensory Bin! Learn about the arctic tundra environment by playing with clean mud and making an ivory soap explosion, then paint the sky!

Learning, art and sensory play all combine in this Aurora Borealis Sensory Bin! Learn about the arctic tundra environment by playing with clean mud and making an ivory soap explosion, then paint the sky!My favorite way to teach the kids about new animals is by grouping them in to habitats, it offers a more well rounded and concrete experience, I think. We talked about which animals live in the arctic tundra, and what helps keep them warm. Penguins have feathers, seals and whales have blubber, the bear and moose store up lots of fat through the summer to help sustain them through the cold winter. It also provides a chance to explore the food chain, who eats who... For some reason, this doesn't bother Aurora, she knows that some animals are meat eaters and they've gotta do what they've gotta do!

Ivory soap explosion turned faux snow by crumbling!After playing with the animals on the soap mountains, we crumbled the puffs of soap up and it made the most perfect faux snow! It's a little messy, but that's why we always do sensory play over tile!

Clean MudWe also had fun molding the clean mud in to snowballs and snowmen, Gray was particularly obsessed with throwing snowballs at Aurora and I, that stinker!

Learning, art and sensory play all combine in this Aurora Borealis Sensory Bin! Learn about the arctic tundra environment by playing with clean mud and making an ivory soap explosion, then paint the sky!

Clean MudI should have included a few snowmen decorating things in this bin as well, Aurora was really interested in molding with the "dough."

Learning, art and sensory play all combine in this Aurora Borealis Sensory Bin! Learn about the arctic tundra environment by playing with clean mud and making an ivory soap explosion, then paint the sky!Their favorite part of this sensory bin though, was the painting, Aurora especially is my little artist, she loved painting the sky, and she loved that the Aurora Borealis was named after her (of course it wasn't the other way around!). Someday we'll get to take our trip to Norway to see the northern lights, and when we do, I hope it's as magical as our afternoon of playing pretend arctic explorers!

For more sensational sensory ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to exploring the senses! Follow Brigette @ Life Lesson Plans's board Kids: Sensory & Small World Bins on Pinterest.

Brigette

from Life Lesson Plans and The Gossamer Girl

Brigette was born and raised in Nebraska, but ever since her husband joined the Air Force, she has traveled around the world with him and their two young kids. First living in Hawaii, and then in Germany, their family has soaked up all sorts of cultural experiences that she loves to weave in to her writing. She and the kids are now back home and are rediscovering their roots. Recently, Brigette started writing a personal blog called The Gossamer Girl where she shares lifestyle stories about h ...

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