Sensory Play

Sensory play is part of our daily infant curriculum.

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We believe in providing our children with this opportunity because research has proven for it to be beneficial in children’s development.  The following list, from  http://homeschoolinmama.com/5-benefits-to-sensory-play/ lists 5 reasons why sensory play is beneficial:

 
  1. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
  2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
  3. This type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory
  4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
  5. This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry)
The following photos show our infants engaged in play on our light table.  We provided them with play-dough,  translucent fabric, and felt fabric.  It was a great experience for the children to reach for fabric and play-dough, and realize the difference in texture!
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This is probably an experience that they were encountering for the first time!  We could see by the looks on their faces, that they were trying to make sense of the difference in sensation as they touched and squeezed the materials.
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These types of experiences really challenge their senses and allow for the children to prepare their minds for complex learning.  We can see from the photos how engaged they were; we believe this is how true learning takes place! 
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Exploring the Color Red

The children have been exploring different colors and one week the color study was red. In one of their many projects throughout the week with the color Red, the children participated in an art with sound activity. In this activity the children created an art piece at the same time they created sounds. As a result this provocation served as a very creative sensory experience for them. Continue reading

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Colored Tiles

For this activity we wanted the children to experience sound and color while having fun with math. The teachers placed a variety of colored tiles inside a large water tray and placed it on top of the light table. This allowed the tiles to illuminate under the water and enticed the children to practice their counting. Continue reading

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Leaf & Twig Paintbrushes

One week for our art experience the teachers wanted to give the children an opportunity to explore nature in a more creative way so, they collected different types of leaves of different texture and small twigs to make nature inspired paint brushes. Small bunches of the leaves were tied to the twig using fishing line and then laid out on white paper with some cups filled with bright-colored paint.

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The children did not hesitate to investigate throughout this provocation at all. They were very inquisitive and examined each of the brushes carefully by running their fingers through the leaves and feeling the outer texture of the rough and bumpy twig.

As they explored the twigs they dipped the brush into the paint cups and naturally stroked it onto the paper themselves. This was an amazing observation for the teachers. Previously the children have been given regular paintbrushes before and in using that type of brush the children didn’t show as much interest compared to using the nature inspired brushes. Even after stroking the paint onto the paper the children would run their fingers through the leaves and examine the paint they collected onto their fingers then proceed to dip the brush back into the cup of paint again. The infants not only enjoyed this nature experience but also were engaged during the provocation as they participated and explored for a significant amount of time.

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Photo-May-21-2-06-43-PMThere are many benefits in allowing children the opportunity to interact with nature. One of them being that nature is not only refreshing, but it is calming to a child and reduces stress, making it easier for them to participate in projects in the classroom.  A diverse variety of plant life encourages the children to interact with nature in more ways and more frequently. Even at this age the children are learning through exploration how to differentiate twigs from leaves and understand that both come from Mother Nature.  According to the Natural Learning Initiative, nature is crucial for children’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development.

Allowing the children to paint with an unconventional tool provides the children with valuable experience to think and explore outside of the box in a safe and educational environment as they connect with nature and paint.

 

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

-Aristotle

 

Reference and additional reading:

Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature

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Mud Play & Exploration

One week the teachers took advantage of the recent rainy days and brought the children out to the playground to enjoy some mud play. Through this activity the teachers wanted the children to experience a very important element in our world: nature! Continue reading

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