Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Sensory Fun



Spring Sensory Fun
A great way to enjoy the beauty and colors of spring is through a sensory box.
What's that you ask....let me give you a brief description.
A sensory box is a contained area where kids can explore and play through utilizing their 5 senses. Helping them to understand the world around them, and how it works.
Sensory boxes are inexpensive and fun to create, taking very little time to assemble.
The main contents of the box can be any multitude of things from colored rice, beans, pasta, sand etc. Any tactile material that kids can explore with their hands.

Adding color to rice or beans or even sand is simple it requires just a couple of things. Get a large plastic bowl and fill it with the rice ( or whatever) you would like to dye. Add a little bit of hand sanitizer...you heard me hand sanitizer, the alcohol helps the dye to adhere to the rice and allows it to evaporate without the rice feeling sticky. I prefer to use a hand sanitizer with a  bit of a fragrance so my rice smells nice. Then add food coloring. Play around with color combinations and amounts, let your kids help with this it is a great "teachable moment" for color blending.
After the rice is stirred well and the color is blended to your liking pour out onto wax paper and let dry. I like to put mine on a cookie sheet and let it dry outside so the drying time is faster. Depending on how thick your pile is you might need to spread it thinner as your rice dries.

The hard part is over, now comes the fun...whatever you theme is start collecting. You kids can help with this as well. Find small toys and objects you have around the house to add to your sensory bin. Make sure they relate to your theme. A few suggestions for themes: letters, counting, shapes, colors, transportation, things that grow, things that roll, textures, animals, Spring...the list goes on and on.
The one I created is a a Rainbow Garden sensory tub.
I used rainbow colored rice and then some soft fabric and plastic fruits and veggies
  The ones we have are from IKEA
To foster creative exploration add shovels, scoops, rakes, cups, spoons, sifters etc.

 
Sensory bins can provide a wealth of knowledge for your young learners, however you are still the most valuable educational tool they have. Model by asking your children questions. Can you find a green fruit for me? Which of these are vegetables? How many red round objects are there? Which one is the smallest? Largest? These thinking questions will help to foster their own curiosity and help your little one relate what they are playing with to practical real world application.

Take a good mental note this is the last time you rice will ever be that clean :) But that's ok you want it messy, mixed and explored...because you know your little ones will be learning. I love for my little ones to play outside on the sidewalk or deck with their sensory tubs. You can also use them inside on a rainy day, an old plastic shower curtain underneath helps with easy cleanup when you are done and everything can be put right back into the box.

Kids love to explore the world using their senses. They love to feel objects and explore interesting textures. Touching objects and manipulating them allows children to  and understand the world around them. Using sensory  bins is a great way to help kids develop their senses and understand their world. Sensory bins are like a guessing game that your children will play for hours.  They love the mystery of not knowing what is inside and exploring.

Each time you change out your sensory bin make sure you save your items. I like to keep mine in small plastic boxes so I can reintroduce them at a later date. The rice saves wonderfully in a Ziploc bag.   

For your little ones this is a great opportunity to explore and discover. Their curious minds love to get their hands on things. Use extra caution and make sure you explore with your children who are under the age of two and like to put things in their mouths. While the rice won't hurt them if swallowed larger items like beans or uncooked pasta could pose a choking hazard. So please explore with your younger children.

Here are some great literature tie ins to your Rainbow Garden Sensory Tub

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

 The Tiny Seed By Eric Carle


What kind of sensory tubs are you going to create with your little ones. We would love to hear from you. send us a picture of your latest sensory bin creation to simplysprout@gmail.com


I Received an A+ at SunScholars.com
            

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