Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sensory Play Made Easy

Children gather information primarily through their five senses. A wonderful way to help your child learn is by providing them with opportunities for hands-on-learning. You don’t have to purchase an expensive sensory table to accomplish this. Here are some fun and inexpensive ways to expose your child to different textures and mediums.

Water Sensory: During bath time, allow your child time to play with bath toys or household items such as cups and mixing spoons. Use descriptive words to talk about the properties of water such as wet, warm, cold, slippery and so on. Play a game where you show your child an object and ask them if they think it will float or sink.  Then place the object in the water and talk about the result.

You can also expose your child to water sensory experiences by allowing them to help you rinse and wash dishes, bathe the family pet and water plants or your yard.  When the weather is appropriate your child can splash in puddles, play in the rain, swim in a pool or run through the sprinklers. 

Play dough: Children often enjoy the squishy, moldable qualities of play dough. Provide your child with cookie cutters, rolling pins or other safe kitchen items to use.

Finger Paint: Provide your child with non-toxic finger paint and a smock or old shirt to protect their clothing. Allow them to paint paper or cardboard items such as empty cereal boxes and paper towel rolls.

Sand: You can use a shallow storage bin filled with sand as a small sand box. You can also use the lid to cover the sand and protect it from stray pets and rain. Provide a variety of cups, spoons or shovels for your child to dig and pour with.

Dirt: Plant a garden with your young child. If you don’t have the space for a garden, you can plant a potted flower or herbs.

Shaving Cream or Whipped Cream: Lay wax paper on your table and dress your child in a smock or oversized shirt. Use shaving cream only if your child
understands that it is not edible. Allow your child to squish the cream in their hands and draw pictures in it with their fingers.

Make your own sensory table: You may have seen the sensory tables provided in many preschools and daycares. Such tables are convenient, but they can be very expensive. You can provide your child with the same experience by using a much less expensive storage bin. The variety designed for use under a bed are often shallow and long, perfect for use as a sensory table. Place a waterproof table cloth or a sheet under the bin to protect your floor and provide easy cleanup. You can then fill this with any of the following items;
- Dry rice or dry beans and cups, bowls, spoons, etc.
- Scrap paper and magazines with child-safe scissors for cutting   practice.
- Sand, water or any of the other items mentioned previously.

No comments:

Post a Comment