playing with sponges

open-ended play with household items

This is just a short, little post with an important message:  Never underestimate the potential for play in the simplest of items.   My husband came home from grocery shopping the other day, and tossed me a sleeve of brightly coloured kitchen sponges, and said “I picked these up for a dollar.  I thought you guys might be able to use them for something”.  He’s such a great guy. :)  coloured sponges in a basket

My wheels started turning, thinking about all of the things we could do with them, but it was getting late in the day and there wasn’t enough time left to get all artsy-crafty so I decided to simply present them in a basket, to the hooligans, to see what they would do with them.

First of all, you should have heard the ooohs and ahhhhs when I placed the basket on a table in the playroom.  You would have thought I’d filled it with candy.  It’s so great when kids get excited about something like this.  There was no question that THEY could see the possibilities that this basket held.

All hands were scrambling to grab as many as they could, and the basket was quickly emptied, and they headed off to do what they do best.

For the next hour, these sponges were the main attraction, each child playing with them in their own way.  I took a few photos to show you how they were being used.

Looks like they were a the key pieces in a construction site here.playing with sponges - construction site

Someone used them as “blocks” to build a tower.playing with sponges - building a tower

They became “beds” for the animals.4 sponges with toy animals on them for "beds"I’m not sure what exactly was happening here, but it looks like they were being used as obstacles for driving the cars around.playing with coloured sponges and carsAnd at the end of the day, the last little hooligan to leave tucked them all into the dollhouse.sponges lined up in the dollhouse

There was also pretend scrubbing of toys happening, which I didn’t photograph, and they each rubbed their hands and faces with them, describing the scouring side as “scratchy”, “rough”, and the soft side as “squishy”.

Who would have thought a little sleeve of coloured sponges would present so many opportunities for learning and imaginative play.playing with coloured sponges

I’m sure we’ll use these sponges for various arts and craft projects in the weeks to come, but for the next little bit, I think we’ll just keep them in the toyroom, and enjoy the open-ended opportunities for play that they provide.





    • happyhooligans says

      You have to love something this simple and inexpensive. It’s been several days now, and the hooligans are still pulling them out to play with them. :)

  1. Quraisha says

    Im south African and I luv ur posts ,I try them with my school all the time going out to buy some sponges ,thanks

    • happyhooligans says

      I’m so glad you’re loving our ideas, Quraisha! I just love hearing that our activities are being done by other children all over the world!

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