Biodegradable cornstarch packing peanuts are great loose parts for creative projects, dramatic play, and sensory play. (FYI: Cornstarch seems to be the preferred starch used in biodegradable packing peanuts, but soy based starch and other materials are used.)
The novel thing about them is that with a little moisture they will stick together–and with a lot of moisture they will dissolve.
You can get them new in bulk, or colored by some smart companies that package them for craft projects. You can also recycle them when they show up as packing material in items shipped directly to your home or early learning program.
(Quick Tip: Touch a packing peanut to your tongue. If it feels like it’s melting, it’s a biodegradable packing peanut. If id doesn’t, it’s Styrofoam.)
We did a little sensory play experimenting. Peanuts were added to a bit of water and mashed until they dissolved. Then more peanuts were added and mashed until the slimy mess got thicker.
A slimy sensory play adventure:
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