Pantry Items- 40+ Ways to Play

There are so many ways to play with exactly what you have on hand.  Whether it be shaving cream, corn starch, food coloring, or something else... anything else...... really, the possibilities are endless.  For example, have you ever scoured your pantry in the name of play? 

40+ Ways to Play with the Items in your Pantry

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Sensory Painting
One of the first ways that we explored with items from our pantry was by painting with them.  It is now an activity we do often.  There are so many ways this can be done.  You can
paint with Kool-aid

The artwork makes the whole house smell AMAZING!

You can paint with spices and water like Learn with Play at Home
Another fun way to paint with spices is to make a paint using glue like The Children's Art Group

There are tons of ways to play with kool-aid!  You can make erupting Kool-aid paints!


Make scented bubble art  or watermelon dough!  One of our favorite ways we have played with Kool-aid so far is this ice cream dough!

Ice Cream Parlor for Kids

It looks and feels just like ice cream and is even COLD!

Some of our other favorite ways to play with Kool-aid:

For tons more ways to play with Kool-aid check out our Kool-aid play collection!

Make scented art by using the spices from your pantry to scent paint.  One example- we added a little pumpkin pie spice to orange paint to make scented pumpkin art.

Pumpkin Scented art
The pumpkins smelled just like pumpkin pie, making our whole home smell like Fall!

Teach Preschool also used pumpkin pie spice in art when she made pumpkin pies with her preschoolers.

You could add a variety of different spices to make different scented paints.  We have added apple pie spice to red paint to make apple scented art.  We have also added peppermint extract to green paint and cinnamon to brown paint.  We called the cinnamon paint gingerbread paint and used it to paint scented gingerbread men.

Another fun way to add spices to art creation is with a fun spice collage like this one from Dirt and Boogers.
spice and nature collage

I also love this spiced hand print turkey from Two Little Two Big
Thanksgiving Spice handprint turkey

A few other fun ways to use spices in play:

( just be sure not to use hot spices)

Scented Play Dough
A really simple and fun way to use the items from your pantry is to add them to play dough.  You can make your own play dough varieties like this herb and spice play dough from Creative Playhouse or you can add Kool-aid or spices to store bought play dough like we do.  You can purchase a tub of Play-doh brand dough for 89 cents and mix in so many different ingredients from your pantry, each creating a super fun dough.  You can find all of our busy mama play dough recpies here.

If your little one has a gluten allergy be sure to check out this gluten free pumpkin pie play dough from loving my nest.

Cloud Dough
Add spices to homemade cloud dough to create a multi-sensory experience.  Cloud dough itself is made from flour and oil, two pantry ingredients.  Add spices and there are so many possibilities for play:

Pumpkin Scented Cloud Dough from Growing A Jeweled Rose

Pumpkin scented cloud dough

Apple Scented Cloud Dough from Growing A Jeweled Rose

Apple scented cloud dough apple activity

Wake Up Dough from The Pleasantest Thing
cloud dough collage

For tons more ways to play with cloud dough check out our cloud dough collection.

Baking Soda and Vinegar
We love baking soda and vinegar play and have found so many fun ways to use it in our activities!  Make glowing RAINBOW eruptions or erupting GOOP!  Magic treasure rocks are lots of fun too!

Magic Treasure Rocks

Some other favorites:

Bubble Bath Eruptions were another favorites of ours

Bath Time Science Lab

For tons more ways to play with baking soda and vinegar check out our baking soda play collection!

Goop is another sensory material made from pantry ingredients.  All you need is corn stach and water but why stop there?  Add a little Kool-aid or spice into the basic GOOP recipe for another fun multi-sensory experience.  We have made many including  multi-sensory fairy GOOP

and Pumpkin GOOP.  For lots more goopy inspiration, check our Goop play collection with over 25 ways to play.

Goop Sensory Activities

You could also add a little scent to some jello like Train Up a Child for another fun sensory experience!

Create a Fun Game
Use the spices from your pantry to create a fun game.  The Pleasantest thing has had fun with quite a few games, one being this spice match up game.

preschooler activity

Train up a Child created another fun game for exploring the sense of smell using the spices she had on hand

I know Jewel and Rosie would love this!

For a fun twist on bath paint add a little spice or Kool-aid to give it a fun scent.  One example is our Skittle Scented Rainbow Paint!

Skittles scented paint recipe

We have also made pumpkin bath paint, apple bath paint, and many more.  I also love these scented paints!


Pretend Play Cooking
Let your little one explore with real ingredients while engaging in a bit of pretend play cooking.  Whenever we do this activity I scour my cabinets for older spices and other bits and pieces of real ingredients.  Adding the real ingredients brings the play time to life while also allowing for fantastic sensory exploration.

You can make this activity even more fun by adding confetti eggs like Play Create Explore
Not only do kids love these eggs but they make the playtime so colorful and the photos so fun!

Scented Bubbles
Use spices to make scented bubbles.  So far we have made pumpkin bubbles and apple bubbles

Scented Baths
Add a little extract from your pantry into the tub to create a fun sensory bath.  We have shared so many fun baths like this but the peppermint scented Christmas bath is one of my favorite!

Christmas activities for kids- themed Christmas bath

For tons more bath time inspiration check out our bath play collection and visit our sister site, Bath Activities for Kids

Sensory Tea Party
Rosie had lots of fun exploring and creating with this sensory tea party!  Adding some loose tea from our pantry to a traditional pretend play tea party really extended the play time and the imagination.

Jello is loads of fun for sensory play and exploration!  Use it to make snake slime, glowing jello,  or to set up a Jello Ocean Sensory World just to name a few!

Food Coloring

We play with food coloring almost everyday!  There are so many fun ways to play.  I have a ton of activities using food coloring.  Rather then sharing a few activities, here are a few of our play collections- all loaded with activities using food coloring!

We use food coloring in the bath ALL THE TIME!  Here are  15 of our favorites!
 fun baths for kids

There are so many other ways you can use the items from your pantry in play.  You could use the zip lock bags to make sensory bags or paint on aluminum foil for a fun canvas.  You could paint with tea bags.  I could go on and on and will definitely be sharing many more activities using common household items!  Connect with us so you don't miss the fun!

Note- These play times are meant to be enjoyed together and supervision is required.  Some items in your pantry could be unsafe if ingested.  Never use hot spices in play and always watch children closely.  Many items in your pantry can be used in play - just with guided adult supervision.  Have fun! 

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Growing A Jeweled Rose

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