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Sensory play with tapioca pearls

Love bubble tea with lots and lots of pearls in it? Other than consuming it, do you know the tapioca pearls can be used for sensory play (sometimes being called as messy play)?

What is sensory play?

Sensory play is an activity that is important for young children that gives them endless ways to develop and learn. In fact, all types of play are essential for children’s development and early learning. Play helps children to develop and improve their gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination and concentration. Also how to work cooperatively and collaboratively, use all their senses to discover and explore their environment, and develop their imagination, creative thinking and ability to problem solve and experiment with solutions.

Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. I don’t really use a sensory table as I always try to improvise by using tubs, pails, etc.

Sensory play is what tapioca pearls are best at. Kids of all ages (including myself here!!) love the feel of them. They are so enticing! They are smooth, squishy, cool… Really, there’s not much more you need to do with water beads than have a bowl full of them to plunge your hands into and hold and squish them. Most of the websites introduce water beads but for me, I find tapioca pearls are safer and easily available from most supermarkets (otherwise from baking stores like Phooh Huat).

What do you need and how do we prepare?
Step 1. Purchase the pearls from supermarket. Cook the pearls. For 1/2 cup of pearls add 5 cups of water and boil them until they start to become tender.
Step 2. Cover and simmer. Your pearls should come out almost glowing.
Step 3. Separate the beads and add some food colouring if you want it to be colourful.
Step 4. Mix water and beads in a tub. All hands in and you have a safe, sensory activity kids will love.

As for me, I did not add any food colouring but the kids love it anyway. While I was preparing the pearls, they were busy searching for bowls, plates and other “equipments” they think they will need to enjoy the time with the “pearls”. Here’s how it looks like after it is cooked. Not sure why mine got a little sticky though but who cares when we can still have fun with it.

The kids can’t wait to get started.
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Enough of using “equipments”, my little girl just dipped her hands into the tub and started squishing it.
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Later, they suggested adding some flour into it. I had some expired flour which I usually keep for other messy play is now being used up here…

Look at my hands, mummy!

Now you know why sensory play is also known as messy play. Not only they messed up themselves, the place get messed up too! But hey, the kids are having fun and learning something…so why not? 😉

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