archive for the 'Sensory' category

Under the Sea Play Dough Activity

This play dough tray is the perfect addition to any ocean theme. Preschoolers will enjoy building their own seascapes with driftwood, shells, and other goodies. I am so excited to present this invitation to play.

PLAY DOUGH RECIPE:

– 2 cups of plain flour
– 2 tbsp. of cooking oil
– 1 cup of salt
– 1 tsp.cream of tartar
– 2 cups of water
– Water color or food coloring

Add the color to the water and mix well. Mix all of the ingredients into a large pan. Cook slowly on medium heat, stirring until the dough thickens. Remove from heat, let cool, and knead.

MATERIALS USED:

– Driftwood
Seashells
Ocean animal figurines
Acrylic craft jewels
– Starfish


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Bugs and Flowers Sensory Bin

Last week Zoey wrote about her garden sensory bin. I thought it was completely amazing, and could not wait to come up with my own variation. This bin uses the same base (brown colored rice) which looks exactly like mulch. Mini pots are holding flowers, but I am hoping my children will also use them to sort the different types of bugs.

That’s the wonderful thing about sensory bins; they are literally bins overflowing with learning opportunities. Looking forward to seeing those little green thumbs!

MATERIALS USED:

– A large plastic bin
– Brown colored rice (tutorial here)
– Plastic bugs
– Mini flower pots
– Silk flowers
– Gardening gloves
– Tweezers
– Rake
– Shovel
– Watering can


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Garden Sensory Bin

Spring has definitely sprung in our classroom. The seeds, the children planted, have started to sprout. The butterflies have emerged from their chrysalises, and the children’s colorful kites are hanging from the ceiling. To go along with all of this, I set up a garden sensory bin, that needless to say, has been a popular spot in the room this week.

As a base I used colored rice. I then added a shovel, a rake, a sifter, a pair of large tweezers, and some garden fruits and vegetables. Large plastic carrots, left over from Easter, made the perfect receptacles for all the goodies. The children all had a great time using their imaginations and motor skills while “gardening”.


MATERIALS USED:

– Rice
– Brown and black liquid watercolors (refer to our (post on how to color rice))
– Rakes and shovels
– A sifter
– Large plastic tweezers
– Plastic strawberries and carrots
– Large plastic carrot containers


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Foil Imprint Art

It’s Artsy Thursday, and we are on day 4 of NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child™. You know what they say: time flies when you’re having fun.

Today we are getting our hands messy with some colorful finger paint, and look! The children are painting on a new sensory texture surface; foil!

For this activity, give each child a generous piece of foil. Have them squeeze it into a ball, and then ask them to uncrumple it. Add some paint, and let your preschoolers go to town. Once they are finished painting, have them press a piece of construction paper onto the foil. Kids should use their arm/hand strength to smooth out the foil, spreading the paint below. Simply peel off the paper and voila! Behold the artsiness!

MATERIALS USED:

– Finger paints
– Foil
– Construction paper


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Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm Pig Craft

We’ve been having such a good time with our farm unit. We read Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm, by Joy Cowley, on Monday and Tuesday, and the children have asked to read it again every day since. I guess you could say they have a slight obsession with the Mrs. and her silly animals. In this story, the animals flee the farm in order to get out of a good scrubbing.

“No more washing!” they say.

The animals make their way into the city where adventure ensues. My kids really enjoy the part where the animals find themselves in a hardware store and make a mess with the paint. So I am hoping that they will also enjoy thumb printing their own splattered pigs.



MATERIALS USED:

– Construction paper
– Our free downloadable pig template
– Finger paints
– Googly eyes
– Pink pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
– Glue
– Scissors
– Crayons


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Easter Sensory Bin

This Easter sensory bin assembly was completely effortless since we had so many cute goodies left over from our our 3D collage Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree hauls. This time around, colored rock salt was used as a base. You can find the tutorial on how to color rock salt, rice, and macaroni in our post here.

Oh, look who is making yet another appearance! We cannot get enough of the soft little chicks. The great thing is, is that even though this bin will contain many of the same items that the children will have used in their collages, they will be using them in totally different ways, creating new learning experiences.

MATERIAL USED:

– Any suitable container
– A batch of colored rock salt (tutorial here)
– Plastic eggs
– Plastic bunny eggs
– Small glitter eggs
– Colored buttons
– Chicks
– Easter grass
– Small baskets
– Small cups
– Ice cream scoop
– Sand rake
– Tweezers

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Shaving Cream Easter Egg

Finger painting with shaving cream allows children to explore, experiment, and create – all while strengthening their senses. Let’s finger paint some Easter eggs!

Simply add a few drops of watercolor to the shaving cream, and blend. Give the children a large egg shape (download the free template here) or, depending on their age and ability, encourage them to cut out their own. Allow the kids to work the colors into the construction paper with their fingers.

What’s so great about this activity, is the way the shaving cream adheres to the paper. It goes on so lightly and dries almost instantaneously, yet it remains rich in color. The eggs don’t become soggy, making them prone to tearing or ripping like they normally would with regular paint or straight watercolor.

Preschoolers may then glue (a dab will do ya) their eggs onto a bigger piece of construction paper. Add some Easter grass, and voila! This colorful finger painted egg is the perfect Easter decoration for any bulletin board or refrigerator.

MATERIALS USED:

– Construction paper
– Glue
– Our free printable egg template
– Scissors
– Easter grass
– Shaving cream
– Watercolors

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The Power of Play Dough

I thought it would be fun to set up a play dough bakery. I made some chocolate colored/scented dough and some lavender glitter dough. I also provided birthday candles, wooden flower decorations, colored beads (sprinkles), pie and bread tins, rolling pins, ice cream scoops, silicone cupcake holders, a serving platter with a doily, cookie cutters, etc.. I had everything ready to go before my class arrived.

This is Chloe. She is always so serious and straight-faced in the mornings, so I was thrilled to see her chatting and smiling while making her “special star cookie”. Some of the kids made birthday cakes and cupcakes while singing “Happy Birthday” to each other.

There are so many benefits to playing with this squishy substance.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Play dough allows preschoolers to come up with unique and creative ideas. Children often express pride in accomplishments when they use play dough in purposeful and meaningful ways. Social skills grow as they share space and materials.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Children use their hands and tools to pound, push, poke, shape, flatten, roll, cut, and scrape the dough. Through these experiences, they develop eye-hand coordination and control, dexterity, and strength; critical skills they will need later for writing, drawing, and other purposes.

LANGUAGE/LITERACY

Working with play dough helps young children to enhance their language abilities. They practice listening, understanding, speaking, and communicating skills as they negotiate roles and engage in conversations with classmates and teachers. Materials like play dough encourage preschoolers to describe and reflect on what they are doing.

SCIENCE AND MATH

As young children discuss what they are doing with the dough, they often engage in scientific thinking. They learn through tactile experiences, observing and reflecting on how materials feel and change (grainy, smooth, round, flat). Math skills increase as children compare shapes, measure sizes, and count.

It’s safe to say, NEVER underestimate the power of play dough.


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