An Exploration with Johnson and Johnson, Part One (Sensory Jar)

Every once in a while I get an email asking me to review or endorse a product. Recently I was even asked to be the brand ambassador for a washing liquid brand! Mr washing liquid company, fire who ever contacted me because they didn’t do their research well enough. If they had they would know that my blog is anything but ‘domestic goddess’.

I have never agreed to any of these emails until I was contacted by Johnson and Johnson. You may think ‘well of course cause it’s Johnson and Johnson’ but in all honestly the name had nothing to do with it (the detergent brand was equally as big). They asked me to be part of their “Say No! to germs and Yes! to exploration” campaign for the launch of their new antibacterial soap specially created for our childrens sensitive skin.

They very correctly made the observation that many mothers from the Arab world are afraid of their children getting dirty, so much so that it hinders their play. When a mother or caregiver is so concerned about the child staying clean and germ free play can become very limited. In fact according to a study Baby centre conducted, on Johnson and Johnson’s behalf, mothers often discourage their children from playing with certain toys or doing certain activities in fear of exposing them to germs. Instead of encouraging their children to play in the garden, make mud pies or explore the insect world for example they would direct them to play with the shiny plastic toys that are disinfectable (new word… I like it).

They suggested that they would send me a box of items that would encourage sensory play  (music to my ears… what beautiful words… they definitely did their research) for me and the kids to try out and a sampling of their products to use as well to review. I absolutely loved the idea of a campaign that encourages mothers to let their children explore as oppose to scaring them away from germs and giving us a gentle alternative to the regular antibacterial soaps.

As we all know toddlers skin is 10% thinner than adults skin (by ‘we all know’ I mean I just found out when the good people at Johnson and Johnson told me) Regardless, even if we don’t know exactly how much thinner their skin is we all do know we have to take extra care with our baby’s skin. We don’t use the same creams or soaps on them when they are infants as we do on ourselves and we really shouldn’t even when they are toddlers. I was looking forward to trying these products out as alternatives to the harsher antibacterial soaps we are use to. Although I am not afraid of getting germs from kids exploring I still know when flu season comes around (and a recent case of hand foot and mouth disease in my kids school, I don’t want to go through that again) that hand washing is the first defence.

I had to wait a couple of weeks for the box to arrive and when it did it had silver streamers coming out the seams! I mean seriously! Any package with silver streamers bursting from the seems must have something good inside.

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Silver streamers out of the seams

The contents of the box didn’t disappoint. Yes it was bit damaged on the outside from the trip (and being opened and closed by customs I imagine a couple of times) but honestly it gave it more character. Once we opened it up I had 6 pairs of little hands and another pair of big hand (mine) trying to pull everything out. I promptly lifted the box out of reach and made everyone step 3 steps back and sit on their hands till I was done unpacking.

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Whats in the box?

I assumed they would send me a couple of things to play with but I didn’t expect them to have sent me a weeks worth of activities! With an adorable booklet (laminated so as to survive the exploration) of brilliant ideas!

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Right off the bat Special K decided to play with the bag of balloons and the plastic tray thing (I am sure it has a proper name but its just not coming to me now) by using the tray as a racket and trying to kit the bag of balloons. He did that for a bit while B made snow angles in the marble waiting patiently for me to take everything out, ooh and aah at it and take a photo of it (really he deserves a prize for his patience). Then we went through the booklet and decided all the things we were going to do NOW.

Over the next few days I will post about the activities we did from the lovely laminated booklet Johnson and Johnson sent us with their Pure Protect products as well as tell you how we got on with the soaps, bath wash and wipes!

Sensory Jar

First we decided to do the sensory jar. The idea was to fill the jar with water and different things that would float and stir as we moved it. B and K ran around the house picking up all the small things that would fit in the jar. Some of which I vetoed, such as the ones that would be damaged beyond repair, short circuit or wouldn’t fit. I suggested we go outside, because of the water, and because we would definitely find more interesting things to mess around with outside.

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Sensory Jar How To

Special K grabbed the garden hose and said “TURN IT ON!”. Since we live n a desert I said “YES! But only a little”. I could see that filling the jar and tipping it would be the exact thing he would love to do all day, give him some water and something to pour it into and you could keep him occupied for hours! I quickly switched off the water when the jar was full and we proceeded to fill it with stuff!

A bouncy ball, toy cars, bits of dried leaves, “fluff plants” as B calls them, sea shells and of course a nice big handful of dirt! After that K decided to blow bubbles on it before we closed the lid.

The way the dirt behaved in the water was mesmerising

After we finished Special K insisted on washing the jar and the toys and his hands which was a great time to try out the new soap!

I must remind you now of K’s obsession with water so after he washed his hands he washed the jar and what was in the jar (dead leaves included) and the lid of the jar then he washed the soap bottle!

A lot of the soap got used in this activity and not necessarily for its intended purpose! But K proclaimed he loved the smell and for a 4 year old thats really all that matters!

What you need to make a sensory jar:

1-A clear jar or bottle of plastic or glass. There is a special feeling to glass that plastic doesn’t have and children tend to feel really grown up handling glass so if you are comfortable letting them knowing that, yes, it may break go for it.

2- Lots of little things, preferably things from nature which we didn’t have at hand, to put into the jar. Give the children some freedom with this but try and encourage them to put something in that will melt or float or change the waters colour as its more interesting.

3-A place you don’t mind getting wet and some water, either from a cup or from a hose.

4-Fill the jar or bottle with water and let them at it. This may evolve to a game of tipping water out and refilling. In this case I would suggest you get a big bucket they can tip the water into in order to minimise waste.

 If your child is anything like mine then this activity is not a particularly calming one. But you can also make a sensory jars to relax your child by using about 20% clear glue, 80% water and as much glitter as you like. The glitter settles on the bottom but when your child shakes it the glitter floats and swirls around  slowly before settling again. 

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