One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root is one of our favorite counting books! A duck gets stuck in the muck by the pond. Other animals attempt to come to his rescue in increasing numbers. Kids love the rhymes in the story, too!
After a fun read aloud with One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, (illustrations by Jane Chapman), you can bring this satisfying counting book to life for preschool children by creating your very own “muck” for sensory play. Our kids loved helping to mix up this sensory bin recipe as much as exploring its properties.
What Is A Sensory Bin?
Sensory bins and tables offer so many opportunities for learning, and young children love them too!
A sensory bin is typically a plastic tub or a large container of some sort filled with materials and objects carefully selected to stimulate the senses. A sensory bin can be filled with a large variety of different materials such as shredded paper, water beads, water, sand, and more.
A sensory bin can provide opportunities for children to stimulate some or all of the following senses:
- Visual (sight)
- Auditory (hearing)
- Tactile (touch)
- Olfactory (smell)
- Gustation (taste)
How Do I Make This Duck Stuck In The Muck Sensory Bin?
- 1 and 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1 cup water
- Animal figures
Mix the cornstarch and cocoa together; add water. Stir or whisk until the muck is blended well.
We are adapting a traditional recipe for oobleck which is a non-newtonian fluid. It pours and oozes like a liquid but acts as a solid when pressure is added. Cocoa makes the oobleck into the perfect muck-like mud mixture, yet all ingredients are edible if you have children who are still tasting during sensory exploration.
We added our duck first. At first the weight of the toy kept the duck on the surface of the muck, but slowly he started to sink in and get stuck in the muck (just like in the book)! Sticking the animals into the muck and pulling them back out to save them are fantastic playful fine motor practice!
The children loved saying his line from the book (“Help! Help! Who can help?”) as we added the other animal helpers in order.
If you don’t have all the correct marshland creatures or enough for the counting that takes place in the story, don’t worry! Use whatever animals you have. Count the animals you have added to the muck.
You could present this sensory invitation to play with only one rubber duck, or you could add magnetic numbers to the muck for added math practice. Children won’t be able to resist this activity even if you simply make the chocolate oobleck mud!
Another early childhood education concept taught in this book is rhyme. When I’m reading One Duck Stuck to our kids, I love to stop before I finish the rhyme to see if they can guess the correct word. You can incorporate this same idea into your sensory play experience by asking kids to name rhyming words for each animal as you add them to the muck.
Enjoy the fun as you play with the muck, the duck, and the rhymes!
BIO: Devany LeDrew is a former kindergarten teacher who writes at Still Playing School where she shares play based learning activities. She specializes in fine motor activities and has co-authored the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas! Follow Still Playing School for more engaging educational ideas on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
More Sensory Bin Ideas
Moon Sand – Moon sand is another fun homemade sand adaptation for your sensory bin. This sand holds its structure when molded. Add astronauts and stars for a “spacey” exploration.
Halloween Black Bat Sensory Bin– Your little learners will have a blast with this black bat sensory bin for Halloween! It’s super quick and easy to set up for your preschool classroom or in your own home.
Farm Sensory Bin and I Spy Activity– Kids love to search for items hidden in pictures in a book or sensory bins. It is like finding hidden treasure! This farm themed sensory bin has a variety of farm animals tucked into birdseed. Your children will have a great time looking for them!