This activity is a continuation on the Legends of Dragon Fruit project we started with the Pre-K class. To see how this project began, click here.
One day we placed seaweed and kiwi on the light table next to each other. Our goal was to provoke the children into investigating their previous theory that kiwi comes from seaweed. The children observed the seaweed and kiwi closely for several minutes. Then, they began drawing images on how a kiwi grows in order to represent their thoughts and theories in a different way. (Meaning, instead of just talking about their ideas, we wanted them to visually communicate their ideas so they could deepen their understanding of the concept).
The smell of seaweed filled the hallway with delicious smells of the ocean. Eventually, the children’s hypothesis shifted gears from how a kiwi grows to what seaweed smells like. The children mentioned the “ocean, dead fish, the beach” and “sea shells.” By using their sense of smell, the children were inspired to further discuss, compare, and analyze different components and figure out how the seaweed and kiwi were related.
After the children drew a few images, of the sounds of seaweed, they became interested in the taste. So, we gathered the children around and placed slices of kiwi, chunks of dragon fruit, and strips of seaweed on the table for them to taste! Most of the children enjoyed the taste of the seaweed and dragon fruit, not many enjoyed the salty taste of the seaweed. A handful of children stared at the kiwi and dragon fruit in their hands, mesmerized by the seeds and the color that the dragon fruit juice was staining their fingers.
This activity highlights the many components of sensory play. The children had an opportunity to visually observe the kiwi, seaweed, and dragon fruit, feel the fruits with their hands and discuss the differences in texture, smell the strong scents of each item, and lastly, taste the foods! During this particular activity, we discussed the colors of the foods, differentiating between different shades of green and how green and purple are complimentary colors. The children are still theorizing where dragon fruit and kiwi comes from, however we accurately concluded that seaweed comes from the ocean and we practiced retelling by describing other things that are found in the ocean. Moreover, the children further developed their language acquisition skills by describing each item. We counted, sounded out, spelled, observed, discussed, hypothesized, theorized, and touched on scientific concepts like how kiwi’s grow and where they come from.
Sensory play is important for learning and the cognitive development in children because it allows children to investigate materials in a way that’s familiar to them. Children are wired to receive and utilize sensory input since birth, which is why children regularly “dive” in hands first to explore a new substance. Their senses are the most familiar and basic way to explore, process, and understanding new information.