When talking about your neighborhood and community, you can talk to children about their neighbors. Do they have any? How far or close do they live? Are they young or old? One of the great things about having neighbors is that we can often turn to them for help–whether it’s for help just to borrow a cup of sugar, or for help to keep an eye out and make sure our home is safe while we are away. Who knows….if we borrow a cup of sugar from an elderly neighbor, it might turn into a nice visit that brightens up their day as well! So let’s practice talking about nice things that our neighbors might enjoy.

Let’s make a sugary sensory bin to practice borrowing sugar from our neighbors, and the ways that we can ask politely, say thank you, and say other niceties in return. This sensory bin is made of sugar and corn starch, so it creates a great texture that feels just like sand, though it can get a bit messy so plan accordingly!

Set up Time: 5 minutes


Mix 1-to-1 portions of sugar and corn starch in a bowl and mix manually, or mix quickly in a food processor (we mixed in a food processor). We did two cups of sugar and two cups of cornstarch. Add to a sensory bin with lots of measuring cups and spoons, and play!


  • Sensory bin
  • Cornstarch
  • Granulated sugar

Learning Through Play

Language: Conversation – Practice the ways you might greet your neighbor on a daily basis. What are some nice ways to say hello to a neighbor and ask how they are doing? Or, how do we ask politely when need to borrow something? Perhaps children can brainstorm about a nice thing from their day that they would like to share with a neighbor. It doesn’t have to be a next door neighbor, but can be a familiar face in your neighborhood (a bus driver, a store clerk, a mailman).

Social-Emotional: Empathy – What are other ways that we can be nice neighbors? Why is sharing important? What are ways we can practice kindness to people who live in our community? Talk about how being kind to the people we see daily in our community can brighten up their day.

School Readiness: Measurement – Add measuring cups and spoons to your play to naturally incorporate the language of measurement, as this activity will inevitably turn into a pretend cooking activity–which is fine! In fact, that gives more opportunities to practice both polite language and measurement. For example, you can practice saying “May I please borrow a cup of sugar? May I borrow a teaspoon of sugar? May I borrow a quarter cup of sugar?” Children don’t have to get things right immediately but they may have fun filling and dumping the different sized cups while pretending to borrow from each other.

See this activity in the Rayz Kidz app along with the other fun sensory activities. Rayz Kidz is your trusted source for play-based activities featuring over 100 themes and 500+ hands-on activities and clear descriptions of the beautiful learning that is happening through play.