I love Teach Pre-school, so many inspiring ideas! When I saw Deborah's sensory bags via Fox News I couldn't wait to make my own:)
The idea of these is to support the development of pre-writing skills and strengthen finger muscles and they are so easy to make!
You only need hair gel, a zip lock bag, food colouring and strong tape.  Be careful which zip lock bags you use.  I found the food storage type a bit too thin and some of the cheaper stationery ones were a bit to stiff and difficult to manipulate.  I coloured the hair gel prior to putting it in the bags using cake making food colouring as the colours are more intense than the colourings you get in the supermarket.  Once you have filled your bag (do not overfill otherwise the marks cover over too quickly) simply tape up the opening to prevent leaks or unzipping!! 
Although I loved the idea of the sensory bags, I was a bit worried that some of my children, being so young wouldn't really understand the idea of moving the gel around, so thought I needed to add something to encourage this.  I was particularly aiming the bags at J and decided to link into his interests which are currently 'the social world around him', balls, diggers, buses and animals. 
In some of the bags I added photographs of the children (ideally I would have preferred to use photos of his family). (I forgot to mention, that I laminated the photos before putting them in the bags and also used double sided tape to stick them to one side of the bag and stop them moving around)
In another I printed off images from the internet of his favourite things,
and in the third a track to drive cars around. 
I also left some empty for free exploration. 
The photo bags were J's favourite!
He loved covering up the images and rediscovering.
Lots of strengthening of finger muscles going on!
Just to prove me wrong (as the children frequently like to do!) they were also very interested in the empty bags and confidently made marks using lolly sticks.
Jess, who was visiting was also very interested in the bags, she particularly wanted to know why I had a picture of her dog in the bag! (it wasn't, just the same breed)
The little ones also came over to investigate the bags:)
Links to EYFS:
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