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Monday, November 10, 2014

Sensory Play

One of my favorite people is my niece Hadley.  When she visits, I like to plan a fun activity for her.  Not because she needs more to do - she gets to see her Grandma, Grandpa, two aunts, an uncle and a baby cousin and she has a room full of exciting toys when she visits, but it's who I am - a planner-of-activities and hopefully it creates fun memories and a bond between us.

One visit we took her to the zoo.

One visit she had a little swimming pool to play in.

One visit was a trip to the park.

One visit was a contact paper face..

One visit was playing with sock puppets that I made.

One visit was a trip to Target.

One visit was all about pipe cleaners (throwing them, making them into chains).

One visit she got really into playing with the dirt out of my flower pots and transporting it in her new dump truck.

We've hunted Easter eggs, played with sidewalk chalk, blown bubbles, went to the theater for a movie, trick-or-treated, sang Christmas carols. 

This time, my research into a fun activity led me to sensory bins.  (I know preschool teachers and moms have known about these forever, but they're new to me!)

Here's what they're all about:

Young children learn about their world by exploring and experimenting using their senses. By observing a young toddler exploring  their environment you will see this in action. They look at,  touch, smell, and taste just about anything they come in contact with- this is how they learn. When their senses are stimulated, messages are sent to their brain which builds neural pathways that are needed for future learning.

Sensory bins are a great way for children to learn using all 5 senses at once. Child development theorist Jean Piaget described the way children learn by calling them “little scientists“. Through sensory play and sensory bins children are using the scientific method and are also building pre-math skills, fine motor skills, language skills, imaginative play, and much, much more. Not only that but sensory bins are so visually appealing and fun!
Source: LovePlayandLearn.com

So this visit I had colorful cheerios and colorful measuring cups for Hadley to play with.  It was cool that all the senses were truly involved and it provided learning opportunities.  I counted the cheerios as I put them into measuring cups.  Then I put them into cups sorted by color.  Hadley mostly scooped and poured and licked and threw the cheerios - I thought it was great!

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