This week we have been discussing the seasons and weather changes. With our California weather being so mild, how could we teach our students about snow or ice? Through sensory play of course! Sensory play provides meaningful experiences and allows our children to experiment. I set up the following stations for this week’s seasons sensory tubs:
- Summer: water, sand, shells, ocean animals
- Spring: flowers, bugs
- Fall: leaves, acorns, pinecones, forest animals
- Winter: instant snow, polar animals
I also provided the children with several measuring cups and teaspoons so that natural curiosity would encourage independent exploration. The children were scooping, dumping, pouring, and measuring. The scientific process naturally unfolded! Children packed the instant snow and built “snow castles.” They scooped up acorns with tablespoons and started to dissect them; splitting them in half and wondering what part of the acorn did squirrels like to eat. They were asking themselves and each other how many ocean animals could fit into 1 cup? Then they would count them! True math and science occurred while children played!
Sensory play seems so natural and basic, but we often need to be reminded how important it is for young learners. Even scooping and pouring and mixing bubbles in the bathtub provide sophisticated brain work! Kids must hypothesize, experiment, test, and analyze their results. This is why our young scientists need time and space to experiment over and over.
At home, I use a pie pan or aluminum pan and fill it with anything for my daughter (ice, shaving cream, flour, dry beans, rice, etc.). Tell me what sensory play activities you and your child(ren) do at home!