How to make 19th Amendment Sensory Fun

"Around America to Win the Vote" book & sensory materials on a tray.

A Patriotic Book & Five Different Sensory Materials at Once!

After reading Mara Rockliff’s “Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 miles” we decided to try something completely different with sensory fun, and recreate the various sensory challenges Nell Richardson and Alice Burke faced on their journey across America in the early 1900’s. The five different sensory materials we used were, water (puddle), mud, slime (sticky), wet sand, and snow (fake). If this sounds interesting, let’s get started…

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Summary of “Around America to Win the Vote”

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 miles” by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Hadley Hooper, is a patriotic book about two women, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke, who drove cross country in America in a little yellow car. They got stuck in the mud, drove through many puddles and pouring rain, got caught in a blizzard, etc… Yet, they kept on going. All the while meeting people along the way to spread their message and prove any way they could that women should be able to vote. It is a message of perseverance and determination in helping the 19th amendment pass. I would recommend this book.

Five Different Sensory Materials at Once?

You might be wondering… “What do you do with it?” or “How is this not just going to be a sensory mess?” There are many ways to answer these two common questions.

First, the most basic answer to “What you could do with Five Different Sensory Materials at Once” is… anything your heart desires. Sensory play at its finest is not about “doing” something specific. It is about exploring, feeling, listening, watching, problem solving, creating, etc… This is an open-ended activity. Just as each child has their own unique personality, experience, and preference in play, the outcome of this activity is just as special. Sensory fun should be just that…FUN!

As for the second question, Yes, this could be messy and I hear you. I’ve been asked that question many times. Therefore, a detailed answer, along with strategies for successful messy sensory play, can be found by reading, “What about the Sensory Mess?”

First Things First,

I have to say, this was one of our more involved activities. There were a lot of weather related challenges going on in the story. I want to be clear that my ultimate goal in suggesting these activities is fun and learning. There should be no stress in gathering materials or feeling like you have to replicate things exactly. This can easily become stressful or costly and is completely unnecessary. We used what we had on hand. You don’t have to do all five items; use as many or as little as you and your child please. You can do one at a time instead of all at once. Again, I repeat… the goal is sensory fun. This should not ever feel like a job.

What We Did with Five Different Sensory Materials at Once…

So, I got the tray and we gathered the materials. We had some craft sand leftover from her birthday party last year. Fake snow from a kit we had bought a while back. My daughter had recently made unicorn slime and she said she didn’t mind using it for this project, score! Obviously water from the tap, and we used aluminum foil to help corral it into a replica of a puddle.

We thought for a few minutes about where we could get a toy car that wouldn’t get damaged rolling around in all of these sensory materials. This was actually a great problem to have because it really caused us to reflect on the difficulties these women faced; and how amazing they are to have gotten through it all. I mean, I’m here thinking about a toy car but they were actually in real life scenarios with a real car and did it! Wow 😮

Ultimately, we realized we could use a little car from Rush Hour (which is an awesome game from Thinkfun); and to make it even more awesome…they had a yellow one that looked very similar to the car in the book! I just love it when things come together like that. When we got outside, she realized we didn’t have any mud and volunteered to go dig some up from the yard 😉

Next, she asked me “What are we going to do with it?” Which I was a little surprised about, but quickly realized she has not had five sensory materials all at once before. She was unsettled by my response, which was, “Anything we want to”. I could see some hesitation, not knowing quite where to start.

An Opportunity…

It is always a challenge not to jump in with helpful suggestions when you see your child struggling. But I highly recommend waiting and trying your very best to let them problem solve, use their critical thinking skills, and creativity to come up with their own idea (a.k.a. child led).

At last, she did! She decided to take the little car through the sensory materials in the order they experienced them in the book. All along the way narrating how challenging it must have been for those ladies and about the various textures. “Wow look at how the car disappears in the snow Mom!”, “OMG look at how sticky this stuff is, its getting all over the car!”, “This wet sand is really hard to drive through its like trying to drive through a wall is so hard!”, etc…

Initially it bothered her a bit if the materials touched each other. When I got some blue sand in the snow she was quick to point it out. But when I questioned, “Why can’t they touch?” She started thinking about it. Then, the flood gates of sensory combinations opened up. A little of this and a little of that, “What do you think will happen if we mix the snow with the slime?” she asked. So we did, interestingly it becomes absurdly sticky and almost spider web like its so thin. It was pretty cool.

Fake Snow & Slime “Spider Web” Stickyness

We learned a lot through having five different sensory materials at once. All of the experimenting and exploring new combinations was amazing. It really gets you thinking about what else can go together and how silly it is to feel some things can’t. Its like, wait a minute, who says they cant!

I would suggest combining sensory play materials if you’re looking for a unique, exploratory activity to connect with your child.

Materials We Used

  • “Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 miles” by Mara Rockliff (from the library or buy it here)
  • A sensory bin, container or tray
  • Craft Sand (any color we used blue)
  • Fake Snow
  • Aluminum Foil (to keep the water like a puddle, you could also use a shallow dish or bowl)
  • Water
  • Slime or any other sticky (or non sticky) material you want to use
  • Little yellow car (doesn’t have to be yellow, we used the one from the Rush Hour game)
  • Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

Remember, it’s best to use what you have. It’s less stress, less time consuming and less costly. It is about the process and the connection not the materials.

How to Make a Five Different Sensory Materials at Once Tray?

  1. Get a good sized tray and the materials you’ve chosen to use.
  2. Place items on the tray next to one another.
  3. If using a liquid such as water; aluminum foil makes a pretty good holder, by folding up the sides.
  4. If you have a car that can get messy; add that too.
  5. All thats left is allowing creativity to happen. Let your child explore however they see fit. Observe and join in; which texture do you like the most? least? What happens when you mix the different textures?
    One of my favorite things about open-ended sensory play is all the different things it can turn into.
    Click HERE for Free Printable copy (Email Subscribers Only)

Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

As a Thank You for subscribing; this is a special FREEBIE for our Email Subscribers Only. 🙂 Click here if you’ve already subscribed. Otherwise, Sign Up below to get the password & access to our entire FREE Printables Library today! 😉

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