Sensory Car Wash
I came across this cool sensory car wash on Pinterest and thought my kids would love it! It's made for occupational therapy but my kids love going to the car wash and I wanted to make them something like it. I ended up using a large dish pack box we still had from the last move and the first station in the car wash was "rinse"...which you can see below is the shimmery silvery stuff hanging down. I found it at the Dollar Tree in the Christmas section, it was some kind of garland. I hot glued the garland to the inside of the box.
The next station inside was "soap". I used embroidery thread and threaded packing peanuts onto several strands and then at the end of each strand, poked the needle up through the top of the box and tied the thread. It's held up really well through lots and lots of car washes.
This is a view from the end of the car was looking in. You can see the soap suds better and then you can see I used 2 dusters from the Dollar Tree next. I tied embroidery thread through the ends and again poked the needle up through the top of the box and then tied it on top so they hang nicely. When the kids crawl past them they spin/twirl...since I used the thread to tie them up, it allows them the movement to twirl and reminds them of being at the real car wash.
The last station was the drying station. I used the fake imitation sham wow car wipe thing from the Dollar Tree, cut slits in it and then hot glued the top to the box. I tried to pick things that would have different sensations as they went through to make it a more sensory experience. I wanted to find one of those small battery powered personal fans that people carry around in the summer and attach that at the very end so they would have a little blow drying too, but I couldn't find any at the time.
Sometimes when the kids are having fun going through, I pretend to be the car wash attendant and I give them a quick squirt with a water bottle before they go through, just like they do at the real car wash we go to. They love it! And their friends ask me to take it out when they come over too, they all love it. And it's nice because when we are not using it I just pick it up and the box folds flat and put it in the storage room. When we use it we set it up with one side against a wall and then put a magazine rack or something else sturdy on the other side to keep it standing upright as both ends are open it has no support to stay open otherwise...but makes it easy to fold flat and put away when you're done playing. It was super easy, cost $4 in supplies from the Dollar Tree and has gotten a LOT of playtime over the last few months!
Isn't it funny how you can spend so much on toys your kids say they really want and then they barely play with them? And then you can make cheap things like this that get tons of repeat play? I love it!