Clear As Mud

A Sensory Experience

I’ve been “blessed”; most of our children have high sensory needs :). It’s challenging for me, because I really don’t have a lot of patience for hands-on, messy and very-involved activities. So, once again I was forced to get out of my “box”, my comfort zone, and figure out a way to meet my children’s needs without inflicting misery upon myself. Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few ideas. I’m sure some of them won’t be that original, but you never know, maybe one of these ideas might be new to you and be of help to your family 🙂  

  • When Chaya was about two, I noticed that the typical sensory activities that you can do while sitting at the table, wasn’t cutting it for her. She needed a full body sensory experience. At the time, we were working with an awesome therapist, Sarah Webb, and she gave me the most amazing idea, which remains my favorite until this very day. (actually, while I’m writing this, I’m thinking: I have to bring this back for Chana Laya, she would love it!!) Ok, so after this long introduction here it goes: All you need is a large plastic storage container (like something you would use to store clothing) and a huge bag of beans from Costco. THAT’S IT! Pour the beans into the large container and put your kid in the beans and you have a full body sensory experience! You can add some beach toys, buckets, shovels etc. if you want, but you don’t even need it. The goal is to have their entire body immersed in the beans. Let me tell you, it’s awesome and is totally calming for emotionally heightened children. -option for a big storage container – option for big bag of beans (you might need more then one bag to fill container…)

  • Fill up your kitchen sink with dish soap, be generous with the soap, the more bubbles the better! Put some bath toys in the sink, like rubber fishies,  and have them go fishing. Easy fun and chances are you won’t need to buy anything new. 

A great toy fishing option

Taking a break from the practical ideas for a minute…. I am pretty new to the whole blogging thing. It’s quite the process for me to brainstorm and come up with a topic that feels right, write it, find the pictures, add links if necessary. Sometimes the writing process happens over a couple days. This post definitely fits into that category . Over the weekend my almost 3-year-old Chana Laya really gave me a run for my money. She has officially learned how to climb out of her crib and oh boy is it a nightmare. Long story short, she got into my cosmetic bag (we were at my sister’s house for the weekend) emptied hundreds of dollars’ worth of skincare and makeup and smeared it all over everything and herself. This is not the first time she has done something like this and pretty sure it won’t be the last.  In fact, she does this all the time (not usually with so much financial loss). If she is out of my sight for a minute, you can be sure she is smearing something, somewhere.  I was exasperated and yet managed to stay calm which was a complete miracle.

It just seems so ironic, that as I’m working on a sensory post for my blog, I’m at a loss on how to fill Chana Laya’s sensory needs. The things that worked for Chaya and Menny, don’t seem to work for her. It is my hope that this post will help me brainstorm some ideas that will fit Chana Laya’s sensory needs, which seem to be very specific, rubbing and smearing things on her body (or anywhere within reach for that matter). 

Getting back to my sensory ideas: 

  • This idea is most practical in the summer and outdoors (will have to figure out how to adapt during the frigid Montana winters). Set up a water table outside, preferably somewhere near a water source, such as a hose, so you can hose them down after they’re done. Each morning, fill the water table with a new liquid/substance that allows them to get down and dirty. Some examples would be… shaving cream, finger paint, hey I would even say shampoo and conditioner, as that’s one of Chana Laya’s favorite things to get her hands on. This allows you to provide a controlled environment for them to explore, to check it out by themselves, without destroying your house and getting into things of real monetary value. 
  • Playdough is the last idea I have for now and it’s the one that inspired this whole post. It’s not revolutionary at all, but I’m proposing playdough with a twist.  A friend of mine enlightened me with the idea of adding doTerra essential oils to the playdough, and surprisingly, it elevated the whole experience, and brought a whole new sensory experience to the forefront. Let me be clear:  Adding scent was a game changer. It was super fun to match the color with the scent. I used lavender in the purple playdough, peppermint-blue, tangerine-orange, harvest spice-red. There are endless options and combinations! Have fun playing around! Those of you who know me, know how big a role essential oils play in my life (a more in depth post about that coming soon) and I love this unique way of incorporating them into the kids play life. I found that doing playdough with this special touch, has even engaged my older girls. Chaya loves lavender and she ended up using the playdough while taking a recent test and it was a great sensory stress reliever and the added smell of lavender took it to a whole new level! 

Link for the amazing essential oils that I use (happy to help with any questions about oils, one of my passions)

I’m going to include the recipe I used here, super easy and the texture is amazing.

1 cup flour 

1 cup water

2 tsp cream of tartar

1/3 cup salt

1 TBS oil

Food coloring 

15-20 drops essential oil of your choice

Love this recipe because you can add all the ingredients at once.

Cook over low/medium heat, stir until the mixture is thick and gathers around the spoon

Once dough is not wet, remove and put on wax paper to cool

Kneed palydough for a few seconds


Store in an airtight container (should last a while)

Repeat this recipe for as many colors as you want.

I know there are so many sources for sensory ideas, and most of them are probably way more creative and original than mine, but I wanted to create a post for the moms like me, who hate arts and crafts and don’t have lots of patience for intricate multi-step activities. When I go looking for ideas, I usually come away feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, feeling like I’m not a good mom, because I have no interest in doing these things. So, I have learned to adapt ideas to make it work for me and my style. I know that I’m not the only one 🙂 so I hope you enjoy these super simple, yet effective ideas.  From one imperfect mom to another. 



read more

Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.