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Sometimes I post pictures of my kid (and his pre-approved friends) engaging in some form of sensory play that makes it look like I’m running a mother loving Montessori school up in this hiz-ouse. Other moms see my pictures and make comments like, “Oh my goodness,you do such fun stuff with Munchie!” and “How do you have the energy to put all of that together?”

First, let me accept your applause for a brief moment, before I burst your bubble. Your kid is already engaging in sensory play… the only difference is probably that I dump things into our “sensory bin” (a giant Rubbermaid tub) to look like I have my act together. If it’s hot outside, I dump a bucket of water in the bin. To make myself look fancy, I take about three seconds to add a squirt of food coloring to said water.

After that, I toss in a couple of wooden spoons, sand shovels, honestly… I toss in whatever I see laying around (I suggest avoiding knives, but to each his own) and then plop the kid(s) down.

So, do yourself a favor and spend about 8 bucks on a long, shallow Rubbermaid bin. Then, toss in whatever you have laying around. Depending on your child’s age, they might want to climb in the bin and explore with their entire body.

Here is a list of stuff you most likely have in your home that you can throw into your bin. (The bin will help to manage your mess, too.) Quantity is up to you, but keep in mind that more stuff equals more mess. I highly recommend taking pictures and posting them online so you can convince everyone you have your sh*t together.

1. Cotton balls
2. Leftover cooked noodles
3. Dry noodles
4. Dry rice/lentils/beans/etc
5. Water
6. Ketchup
7. Crumbled tissue paper/wrapping paper/printer paper
8. Sugar-free pudding/jello/cool whip (sugar free isn’t sticky!)
9. Toys of a like color/shape
10. Don’t be greedy, I already gave you nine ideas.

You don’t have to be a genius, spend lots of money, or have a bunch of spare time. If you want the truth, my deck is still covered in foam shapes from making “Shape Soup” two weeks ago. (I cut some shapes out of foam I had laying around, added a bucket of water, food coloring, and gave the kids spoons to mix it up.)

When you see people posting awesome pictures of the amazing things they do with their kids, keep a couple things in mind.

1. Any sleep deprived parent can throw together something simple, but impressive looking, with one hand (the other occupied by coffee, wine, etc) in a matter of seconds.
2. If someone posts pictures of their kid doing something really awesome, they either hired a nanny to watch their kid or plopped them in front of the TV while they put it together.
3. Don’t ever expect your kid(s) to play with something for longer than five minutes. If it takes longer than 5 minutes to put together, it probably isn’t worth your time. (Kids are a very often a buzz kill and don’t care how much effort you put into things. Think about pregnancy, labor and delivery… have they even thanked you for that? Exactly.)

So, there you go… have fun fooling your in laws and the rest of the world that you have your sh*t together. Now go make yourself a sensory bin… in a glass/mug/vessel… filled with wine/coffee/etc.

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