In their exploration of sea shells with the children, the teachers created a beach themed provocation that included a colorful canopy, sand, water, plants, wood and lots of sea shells! For this activity the teachers wanted the children to experience exploring with sea shells in a fun way that many of us are familiar in doing so-by the beach!
In the teachers’ observations, they found that the children really loved being outside based from their immediate response in approaching the activity and the long lasting time they spent exploring the materials outdoors. This exploratory play required the infants to use their physical skills and senses to find out what the materials felt like and what could be done with them. Many of the children found the way of using the sea shells to scoop up the sand and water and dump out back into the tray. One child even found it better to use the sea shell to scoop water for them to drink.
The purpose of this activity was to entice the children to come out and explore the sea shells in a sand and water environment as if they were at the beach! Exploring the natural world around them enhances their observational skills. This nature-based sensory learning gave the children the opportunity to explore shapes, colors, textures, scents, and sounds. This type of sensory play encourages the children to be deeply focused and absorbed in their play, strengthening concentration and thinking skills through out the process.
Nature-based sensory learning gave the infants infinite opportunities to explore, discover and create using open-ended materials. Open-ended or loose part materials allow the play to be free-flowing as discoveries evolve through out the learner’s experience. Providing these types of materials allows creative and intellectual freedom for the children, making their provocations all the more meaningful!
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty.”
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