Under the umbrella sensory play aims at visual system and as such, this rainbow activity is perfect for babies and toddlers. When should you engage your child in this activity? Under the umbrella sensory play would be perfect before nap time in the afternoon, or you can even lay down with them and take a nap together! You deserve a little break!
How We Came Up with Under the Umbrella Activity?
When I think of an item beginning with the letter U the word umbrella immediately comes to my mind. However, how do you turn an umbrella into a sensory experience? Simple – have lots of Under the Umbrella Sensory Play fun.
How to Set Up Under the Umbrella Sensory Play?
We have a wonderful large rainbow golf umbrella that we have used for several years. It is perfect for brightening up a rainy day or keeping us in the shade during the summer. We discovered it was also perfect to use as an indoor canopy whilst it was wet and miserable outside.
I set about decorating our rainbow umbrella. I wanted to use items that could easily be removed so we could still use our umbrella. I also needed to be able to close the umbrella when we were not playing with it. Finally, the items had to be found around the house – there was no way I was leaving the warmth of our house today!
I used velcro cable ties to make several coloured chains. I attached these to the spokes of the umbrella so that they would hang down. I then used coloured ribbon to attach recycled CDs to the umbrella.
The CDs catch what little sunlight we had available and make small rainbows around the room as they would spin slowly. As a last minute thought I added some polystyrene stars that had been painted in neon paint.
Learn more about visual sensory system!
How to Use Under the Umbrella Activity with Babies and Toddlers?
Our Umbrella Sensory Play canopy only took a few minutes to put together. I brought it into the living room, opened it up and my son’s immediate reaction was “wow”. The rainbow umbrella instantly brightened up our living room.
Start by placing a variety of pillows and blankets under the umbrella and both laid down. We made ourselves comfortable for the rest of the afternoon.
It’s temping to spend most of the afternoon laying underneath the umbrella, talking about the different colours we could see and counting the velcro cable chains. My son discovered that if he gently pushed the recycled CDs they would spin.
Our umbrella blocked out the rest of the world and gave us quality time together. We decided to bring under the umbrella few of my son’s favorite books about rainbow and spend more time laying down as I read them aloud to him.
Reading under the rainbow about the rainbow is fun! And, with each book, we had more conversation topics to cover.
At some point, he fell asleep listening to the story. Sleeping under the rainbow on cosy blanket and pillows! Isn’t it wonderful sight?
How to Change Up Under the Umbrella Set-Up from Rainbow?
I love how easily our umbrella could be adapted. Over the coming weeks, I envisage adding cellophane, foil and bubble wrap to our umbrella sensory experience.
You can also use black umbrella with white and gray attachments for babies as they react better to contrast colors.
Which other ways you could think of to change up this under the rainbow set-up for your child?
Books to Read Under the Umbrella
After your baby or toddler is done exploring hangings from rainbow umbrella, you can extand together time through story telling session. And, hopefully, it will make them sleepy and they will take a nap under the umbrella! Here are few of our favorite books about rainbows to add to your home library!
What Makes a Rainbow?
Your baby and toddler will love the cute story of the bunny asking his friends what makes a rainbow, whils teaching your child colors as you read. A rainbow of ribbons magically appear when you open the pages of this innovative book! Toddlers will love listening to the charming story and seeing a different colored ribbon with the turn of each page. The last page is sure to delight with all the colors of the rainbow. What a fun way to learn colors! Find the book: United States | Canada | United Kingdom
My Color Is Rainbow
Little White Arch is on his journey as he wonders what his color could be. Along the way he meets many colorful characters who help him realize the answer. A playful story about kindness, acceptance, and openness that celebrates how we are not defined by one, but many wonderful characteristics. Find the book: United States
How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow
Story: Determined to save the rainbows and fix the Sun and Clouds’ friendship, the crayons draw rainbows all over town. Their attempts go unnoticed. Soon they realize that they’re going to have to do something big to get the attention of the former friends. So, the crayons create the biggest rainbow they can and hope it’s enough to bring color back to the world. Find the book: United States | Canada | United Kingdom
The Rainbow Fish
The message behind The Rainbow Fish book is all about not being selfish, giving of ourselves, putting others first, and being a friend. It’s likable and easy to comprehend book. Bonus is that the pages are glittery and it’s perfect choice for little ones who like sparkly things! Find the book: United States | Canada | United Kingdom
Next Play Idea You Should Try with Your Baby or Toddler
If you would like to extend the umbrella theme, we prepared a week full of activities with an umbrella as we covered letter U in our Tot school. You can also invite your toddlers to continue playing with a rainbow and choose one of rainbow sensory play ideas we collected. And, we created rainbow posters with quotes about importance of play you can download, frame and hang in your child’s playroom.