The big kids had all gone off in different directions and left Noah behind.
He didn’t like it, not one bit.
Big fat tears ran down his cheeks as he told me “they don’t want me”. I had to smile as he usually has his older siblings wrapped around his little finger so on the odd occasion when they want a little space, he can’t understand at why they don’t want to be at his beck and call any more.
“Come on” I said “Lets do something new.”
The idea of something new and different made his eyes light up and he wiped his tears away and followed me into the kitchen.
Inspired by this post from At Home with Ali, I had an idea… I set aside dinner and found two old containers, two spoons and some food colouring. I had his full attention now.
We dug around in the back of the cupboard and found the bags of salt Daddy had bought home from work. The Father Figure makes medicine for a living and if the whole packet of medical grade salt is not used they have to throw away the rest, and sometimes he brings it home for us to play with.
I dumped the salt into the containers and then emptied the blue food colouring in one and the yellow in the other. Then we stirred.
Just as the salt was beginning to change from white to coloured the girls wandered past… “Oooh what’s that? Can we help?”
Everyone had a stir and they chatted about what we could use the blue and yellow salt for.
“It could be the beach and the sea!”
“Yeah! Lets get some sea animals, come on Noah”
And off they went to dig through the bucket of animals looking for thing that live in the sea or on the beach. They also hunted out some rocks and shells and sparkly glass stones while I emptied the tub (we use a cheap under-bed plastic container) from our last imaginative play scene and set it on the table.
Then Morgan came in… “Oooh Can I play?”
Soon the four of them were busy around the tub and I went back to pealing the potatoes.
I smiled as I watched and listened to them play.
Just a little while earlier they had all declared their desire to be ‘alone’ and yet here they were back together again. Effortlessly the four of them were making up stories, working together, negotiating, sharing. There was a seal call Jeremy who I thought was particularly amusing.
As I watched I marveled at the simple pleasure that imaginative play brings my kids and wondered how much longer the nine year olds will be enthralled by this kind of activity. I hope, in this respect at least, that my kids are just like me, that they will always love a bit of imaginative play, no matter how old they get.
For more great salt play ideas check out these activities and ideas from some of my favourite bloggers (oh and me!)
We started our salt play with a really simple set up for one.
One Perfect Day gets arty with raised salt painting.
Learn With Play At Home usess a salt tray for learning letters
Mummy Musings and Mayhem shared a fun and free sensory play ideas with salt and coloured water
Creative Play Central coloured their salt with chalk.
And a Little Learning For Two shows step by step how to colour salt with food colouring – this is what we did.