stupidly simple toddler play

After toddler storytimes at our branch we provide some kind of art, play or sensory experience. It doesn't typically include an end result one would want to take home but parents seem more than happy not the schlep or toss another thing. We recently put out a ton of shredded paper (originally created for this program and since used 5 separate times for a variety of events. Well worth the effort) on a tarp and let the kids have at it. While the janitorial staff was less than thrilled, the kids and their grown ups were ecstatic. Kendra opted not to use the tarp, but instead pulled out the large parachute for an added element of fun.
Another simple, well received activity was "painting" in salt. We have a set of plastic trays which I covered in a thin layer of salt. We have tons because we make playdough once a month for each storytime we present. I set out thin paintbrushes and asked kids to double up on trays, which wasn't a problem. Minimal spilling and only one kid tasted it (He was not impressed). In retrospect, I should have used a stiffer, fatter set of brushes we have. I suggested to parents that this is a great tool for building letter awareness or practicing shapes.

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