A Sensory Washing Line

This is a great way to enliven play in the garden and to stimulate sensory perception.  Even a very young baby can be carried in the arms of an adult and together they can explore sound, colour, touch and smell as they move along the washing line.

The most important elements are outdoor space and a washing line.  If you have one in place, great!  A rotary line could be used.  Or you can thread a line around objects in the garden to create a sensory walk.  Finding an open space in a park and fixing a line between two trees is another option.

You will need pegs, string and a hole-punch is useful for threading objects onto the line.  You will find plenty of stimulating objects to hand from around the home and don’t forget to delve into the recycling bins to see what you can put to use.  Use string to lower items to toddler height.  Give them wooden spoons to bang with.  Here are some things to hang from the line, don’t forget older children will like to help in making the line.

  • Lengths of string threaded with buttons, bells, beads, shells, washers
  • Collections of cutlery and utensils (no sharp edges or spikes!)
  • Balloons
  • A sheet of bubble wrap
  • Ribbons – all colors and textures
  • Posies of pungent herbs such as lavender, mint or oregano
  • Plastic milk cartons filled with beans, rice, pasta etc to make hanging rattles
  • Large feathers
  • Ice medallions – make these by filling shallow plastic containers with water, add colour, glitter, sequins or flowers and leave one end of a length of string in the container and freeze.
  • Saucepan lids
  • Fabric drawstring bags, bean bags or odd socks stitched at one end full of spices such as cloves, cinnamon sticks etc.
  • Unwanted CDs
  • Wind chimes
  • Sieves and colanders to peep through
  • Net curtain to walk or run through

Experiences like this help babies to touch and feel, to look and listen and enjoy being outdoors.  Make sure you spend time outdoors everyday whatever the weather, wind and rain are important sensory experiences too!  Just ensure everyone is appropriately dressed and have spares handy to change into.  Not every outing into the garden has to involve a huge effort, just taking babies out to touch trees, smell flowers or listen to birdsong (or next door’s lawn mower!) is a valuable learning experience for them and will also boost health and well being.

Give us your feedback!

Have you tried this activity?  How did your baby respond?  Have you got any great suggestions to add to our list of items?


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