Clubhouse Creation Station, DIY Sensory Bags

The Clubhouse has a lot of "stations" that come and go, and some that are a permanent facet of the classroom. Albeit in many of those permanent stations things can be "created", an actual Creation Station is solely all about creating our finished product. Hands on, all ingredients at our fingertips, we dig right in and get to creating.

This morning, carousing through the classroom pantry for inspiration, I suddenly knew exactly what could be created... using almost everything in the pantry! Usually, I'm the one who does the creating of this specific tool, why not let them do it themselves and see what happens?

So I set it all up, and braced myself for a messy adventure in sensory exploration...
Table #1 had a variety of subtances in a variety of containers. I wanted the kids to be able to pour, squeeze, scoop... obtain their ingredients several different ways. All part of the process, right?

So what is all that stuff?

Colored water, oil, aloe vera, shampoo, food coloring, and that goopy substance sold by the vat that is still called hair gel but hasn't touched my hair since 1986. Sand, Dirt, Corn Starch, Coffee. Measuring Cups and Spoons, and of course.. let us not forget.. some heavy duty baggies ;)

That was not nearly enough for a Creation Station though, so we had to have another table. 

Cotton balls, dry pasta, different color pom poms, coins, sunflower seeds, easter "grass", sprinkles, lavender bath salts, small toy dinosaurs, marbles, sprinkles, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Phew. Is that enough? You would think so, but there were a few last minute additions that didn't make the photo. I was absolutely running around the house this morning grabbing random things from bathrooms and toy bins. That is the best thing about this concept. You could honestly set this whole thing up without having to run to the store for anything. Unless you don't have baggies. You absolutely need the baggies!

There were no set "rules" for this activity. I have made so many different sensory bags for the classroom, he knew the end result he was going for. Explaining that he could use anything from either table in his baggies, he got right to work.

So, here I am with another one of those blogs where the pictures do most of the talking. What can I say? When allowing the Preschooler to explore, to create on his own... I am always the one who ends up learning. From start to finish, this was all him. Sure I may have put out a few things that clearly go together, but he was the one who decided what went into his baggies. I had to hold the bags open from time to time, but other than that I was there solely for conversation... and oh what great conversation it was!

The first bag was a bit of a free-for-all of ingredients as he poured in water, oil, added some dirt, corn starch, a pinch of coffee.. etc.

"This bag really needs red water!"

"That's oil. Look at the bubbles!"

He added and added until the bag really just looked like it had a little of everything. 

I anticipated this.

Finally he announces,

"This bag is done!"

We sealed it up and he got to squishing...

I was certain this bag was going to be my first big mess of the morning.

He squished, a lot. 

He laid it on the table and smashed everything around.


He squished some more.

It's amazing how tough those little bags are, even when being squeezed by tough little hands.

Then he started shaking the bag.

"It will change if I shake it!"

...and change it did.

"It's Pink!! I made Pink Dirt!!"

I had forgotten he had even put dirt in that bag, but he certainly hadn't forgotten.

He set out to find the dirt he knew he put in there...

and find it he did.

Pointing to the dirt he knew he added to his bag.
This bag kept him busy for awhile, so I reminded him that he could make more.


Maybe I should have clarified that in the beginning. Then perhaps he would not have tried to add every ingredient to one bag.

Note taken.

In total he made 11 bags, and he was at work for at least 2 hours.

TWO WHOLE HOURS doing ONE activity. 

That alone was worth the clean up.

All of the substances had different scents, textures and colors so we got to talk about all of those differences as he went along. This was absolutely a sensory adventure, but that wasn't all.

Squeezing bottles, pouring liquids, measuring out with cups and spoons, reaching his hands into different size containers (the goop all over his hands definitely helped him reach right into the smaller jars... bonus!) He was focused, and having fun! 

The blue goop, a.k.a hair gel, was a favorite.

"These are swampy waters!!"

He tried scooping it into baggies with his hands, and eventually realized he could transfer more with a measuring cup.

"This stuff is what people get stuck in!" he says as he pretends his hand won't come out.

Enter the dramatic play as we feverishly work to get his hand out of the swampy quick sand :)

He did make some bags that were "sensible".

Dirt, seeds and water went in one bag.

The toy dino's were coupled with sand in another bag.

Mostly though, his imagination was in charge.

He decided the lines in there were roads.

"This one has roads in it! I made roads!" 
(That's Aloe Vera squirted into a baggie that had green water and cornstarch.. and those "roads" stayed that way for awhile.)

Adding marbles and cotton balls to a baggie (full of goop and nutmeg) we talked about how the cotton balls got mushy and you could squish them.

"Not the marbles though, marbles are hard and even when I put them in there they don't get squishy like the puff balls do!"

As he declared each baggie done, I was amazed at how cool his creation had come together. For every sensory bag "recipe" you find online, you can find a Preschooler to top it with their own invention. Yes, invention. That's what he said they were.

"I'm inventing things here!"

Once he was done inventing, we took all of the baggies outside to explore them further. I asked him what the name was of each individual baggie. Of course, he had a name for every one. 

"My 1..2..3..4..5 bag"

He remembered every ingredient that went into each bag. 

He explained his reasoning for some bags.

"For this bag, I thought Pasta was a good idea."

"This bag smelled like Pancakes when I made it!"

"This is my swampy waters bag."

"This bag is full of a green gooey goo, I put in a lot.. not just a little."

Yes, there's pasta in there somewhere.
"This bag has coffee, oil and pasta. Find the pasta!"

On, and on we talked about all of his sensory bags, and I'll tell you something...

I will never make a sensory bag by myself again :)

The Creation Station, DIY Sensory Bags will remain open throughout the next week, and I am excited to see all of the sensory bags that fill the Classroom. 

We're already off to a pretty good start...

Oh, and as for that first baggie he made that I was certain would be a big mess:

It's pretty much proving to be indestructible!!

Grab some baggies and swamp water and have some fun,

Ms. Liz

If you liked this post, check out this one and see how we used the ingredients in our Fall Fun Basket to make Fall Sensory Bags.

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  1. Liz, I LOVE this!! The baggies are brilliant! My daughter likes to "make experiments" in the paper bathroom cups, but I think she would fall in love with a creation table like that! My other kids would love it too--I'm so excited to try this one! Thank you for linking up to Teach Me Tuesday--I can't wait to see what you are up to next week!
    PS. I'm pinning this--let me know if that's a problem!

    1. Carla, thanks for stopping by and sharing! I'm so glad that you are going to try it with your kiddos. It was an absolute hit over here, and we're still playing with all of the baggies that were created. Please let me know how it goes when you do it, I would love to hear all about it. As for pinning, go right ahead! Thanks!! See ya next Teach Me Tuesday :)

  2. Hi again! I just wanted to let you know that this was one of the most clicked on links last week! Congratulations! It's featured on today's Teach Me Tuesday!