I have been so excited to introduce many new and different activities to my children to celebrate the coming of Easter.
It was only a year ago that I learn the importance of introducing children to sensory play. I first noticed how my children are often reluctant to get their hands into anything dirty, sticky, or gooey, perhaps due to my own reluctance to get anything sticking on my hands and feet.
But as I learn, sensory plays are important because children’s senses which are not fully developed at birth, become more and more developed as they engage with the world around them through touching, smelling, hearing, listening and moving. Each new sensory experience helps grow the architecture of their brains which in turn make them better learners in every aspect of life.
Sensory play then is simply play that stimulates the child’s 5 senses of touch, smell, taste and sound.
Slowly, I am beginning to widen the range of our sensory materials, but in this Easter Sensory Box below, I have introduced a few new components to the children from our previous animal farm sensory box and christmas sensory bin.
In this Easter sensory box, I gathered a few items:
* Fake grass for soft cushioning
* Small pebbles
* Easter chicks
* Some farm animals, plants, gates and bridges
* Mini Easter eggs
* A pail of water (to feed the animals)
* Shredded paper
The kids spent almost an hour setting it up, and in the process they learn the social skill of getting along with each other, negotiating and compromising to build a scene they both like, before tearing each other into pieces, which help towards sibling unity.
Sensory plays are beneficial in building language skills, fine and gross motor skills as well as learning self control. Self control training is reinforced as children learn to play with their imagination and creativity with the materials in the box, as well as respecting the boundaries the play brings.
In order to maximise the benefits of this sensory experience, I aim to incorporate the following materials to further enhance the children’s experiments with different materials and textures
1) Use my coloured and plain uncooked rice grains
2) Use my dry beans, dry lentils, dry pasta or dry cereal
3) Use my kinetic sand, cooking salt, play dough or play foam
These items can be used interchangeably as base, for food or to create shelters where the animals can sleep or feed. To help my almost 5 year old preschooler get into the learning side of this activity, I will also:
1) introduce my plastic easter eggs and hide the mini eggs above inside the plastic ones. He can have lots of practice in opening and closing the eggs, as well as counting, sorting, classifying the eggs. (Yes, I have about 50 mini eggs of different colours which work perfect with getting him to count forward and backward to 50! 🙂 )
2) give him different materials such as measuring cup, kitchen scoops and spoons to practice his spooning, pouring, picking, tonging skills.
3) engage him to talk, explain, narrate and develop a story line to practice his imagination. Cracking the eggs and filling them up with pebbles, rice, grains, cereals may also encourage him to set up a little deli to serve eggy breakfasts of many sorts!