Tag Archives: senses

Remember When…

Friday was an inservice day so the school-age children were here for the whole day.  I decided it might be a good day to bring out ‘the bin’.

I had filled the bin months ago when I collected some of the leftovers from the garden.  I had intended to use it as a sensory bin for the toddlers.  Now, with a good layer of snow on the ground I thought the bin might also assist the older children to remember our past gardening adventures.

As the children gathered at the table in the sunroom I opened the bin – the aroma was amazing;

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MMmmm, sweetgrass smells so wonderful.  There were other things in the bin too but the scent of the herbs was overpowered by the sweetgrass.  The children spent some time exploring the items and were able to identify both the wheat and the oats;

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They selected items they wanted to include in a little sachet to take home.  They cut up the bigger pieces to fit;

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And created their own sweet smelling little bundle;

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The sunlight streaming through the sunroom window was so bright one of the children wished he had sunglasses – and suggested that we could use the craft supplies on the table to make some.  Good idea 🙂

He selected items from the craft bin that could be used to make sunglasses – egg carton pieces and colored transparent film.  Then the construction began;

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As I assisted a toddler to put glue on the front of the egg carton the older child suggested it might be better to glue the film onto the inside of the egg carton – good idea.

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He also suggested that if we attached a stick on the side of the glasses they would be easier to hold instead of trying to tie a string around your head – so creative.  The finished products may not have worked as well as we would have liked but the process was amazing to watch.

Do you remember when the product was your major concern and ‘I can’t’ was a common complaint?  I do.

The Antidote

I’m a coffee drinker.  A few months ago I began buying flavoured coffee creamer as an occasional treat.  After I emptied the first container I rinsed it out and went to put it in the recycling bin but I hesitated.  I like to use sturdy empty containers from familiar products for ‘readable’ toys in the housekeeping area.

This container was sturdy but I wasn’t sure if the children would be familiar with the product.  I decided to add it to the collection of ‘food’ on the shelf and see what they did with it.  It was an instant hit but not for the reason I expected.

Even after washing it out this container retains the aroma of the flavoured cream.  The children noticed immediately.  ‘Smell this’ was heard often and having only one container was becoming an issue so I had to buy more.  Vanilla Toffee, Mocha Almond Fudge, Carmel Macciato, and my personal favourite, Chocolate Mint.  MMmmm.

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Then one day while several of the children were building with blocks one of them farted.  While most of the children groaned and covered their noses one ingenious child ran to the housekeeping area and grabbed a creamer container.  The other children followed.

They had found the ‘cure for the stink bomb’.

These containers have never been used during dramatic play in a coffee shop or restaurant but they are used almost daily as gas masks.  Once one of the children sends out the alarm the others all rush to get a container, open it and hold it under their nose until the threat is over.  They have the solution.

 

Delightful or Creepy

The children enjoy burying their feet in the gravel;

Below the surface it is so cool and the weight of the gravel adds another sensory experience.

The baby found something she thought was interesting – sawdust.  There was a pile of it over from when my husband cut up some kindling.  It was just within her reach and it was so soft and fluffy;

She took handfuls of the sawdust to the other side of the yard, placed it on the bench and then wiped it off;

Then she went and got some more.  It was a process she enjoyed for quite some time.  She was a little surprised when she found something else in the sawdust but the other children were delighted to be able to have her unwanted discovery;

I saw a beautiful black and yellow butterfly fly across the yard and ran over to where it landed in hopes that I might be able to get a picture of it.  When I got there I discovered that it wasn’t a butterfly after all;

I poked it to make it fly again just to make sure and yes – this little fella does have fancy wings.  I learned something new!  There have been a lot of crickets and grasshoppers around lately and the children are thrilled;

Then one of the children asked “What are those things in the wasp trap?”  So I went to look;

That picture didn’t turn out well but I wasn’t about to take any more – had to dispose of that wasp trap full of maggots ewww, ewWW, EWWW!  Quick find me something to get that image out of my head.

The baby has a new interest;

The other children have abandoned their shoes to enjoy a follow the leader/obstacle course game on the new grass;

Now that is delightful 🙂

Sculptures

We often use play dough as a sensory play activity.  As they explore through touch — squeezing and squishing, rolling and cutting – they enhance fine motor skills too. With the addition of food coloring and spices the dough can excite the sight and smell senses also.  Of course there is always at least one child who insists on tasting.

When I make a new batch of play dough I divide it up into individual portions and put them in sandwich bags. The sandwich bags are then placed in a container and stored in the refrigerator until we want to use it.  I love watching the expressions on the children’s faces when they eagerly grab their ball of play dough and then quickly drop it back on the tray.

“Ooooh, it’s so cold!”  Feeling the change in temperature and texture as they work the dough adds a little science to the activity.

Using this storage method the play dough lasts much longer than if it was left at room temperature but it still doesn’t last forever.  Inevitably the dough will begin to loose its usefulness I need to make more.  The new batch will have different characteristics – maybe even some glitter or sand.

When I saw this activity over at Nurturing Young Minds I thought it would be a terrific way to extend the interest the children had shown for following the animal tracks in the snow outside.  I still had the ‘pumpkin spice’ dough we had been using but I didn’t think it would be a good substitute for snow.  Instead of just tossing it out I decided to let the children make some sculptures that they could take home.

I introduced the activity to the younger children in the morning when the older ones were in school.  They were thrilled to cut and shape the familiar dough but initially left the decorations untouched.  I think they may have been unsure about adding ‘stuff’ to the dough because usually I throw out the dough when it gets ‘dirty’.

I took some dough and supplies and made my own little sculpture as an example.  Tentatively they started making their own creations.

I left them to enjoy their creative process while I gave the baby his bottle.  I observed them from a distance as they made sculptures and then carefully separated all the ‘stuff’ from the dough and then made something new.

This process kept them engaged for over an hour! They seemed unconcerned about their lack of any ‘product’.  When I said it was nearly time to clean up for lunch that they hastily added a few loose bits to their ball of dough and placed it on the tray to dry.

The older children got their turn with this activity during quiet time in the afternoon when the little ones were napping.  They immediately dove in, rolled out their dough and stuck on some decorations – a process that lasted less than five minutes.  Then they moved on to other quiet time activities.

We’ve been watching the sculptures dry — checking daily to see if they are firm enough to pick up.  Today they will take them home.

For some it was all about the process and for others it was the product.

On the Move

Yesterday the preschoolers were enthusiastic explorers.  They went on many adventures using different means of transportation.  There was the popular off-road vehicle that could conquer any terrain;

Then there was the amazing flying saucer — who wouldn’t love the opportunity to fly through space on a burger bun;

Of course they included my personal favorite way to travel — on horseback;

The only problem with horses is that the need so many potty breaks.  These ones discovered that even horses have to line up and wait their turn to use the potty;

All these adventures fascinated the baby.  He doesn’t crawl yet so he relies on me to place him in the optimum position where he can observe all the action.

But wait…. hey, that is not where I put you…how did you get over there.  Hmmm seems someone has discovered the butt shuffle 🙂

And I’m thrilled that his favorite place to travel to is the sensory wall.

So many interesting things to touch and feel;

And while I haven’t yet purposely added any ‘sound’ items to the wall, someone discovered that a baby hand can make the coolest squeaky noise ever when you slide it across this;

Of course some of us are not as enthralled by that squeaky noise especially after hearing it several hundred times!  Oh well, soon we’ll be moving on to something else.