For our Friday food exploration activity with the infant class, the children explored and experimented with Papaya and Broccoli! They loved the sweet taste of the papaya and thoroughly enjoyed digging their hands and fingernails inside the middle of the fruit and playing with the dark colored seeds.
The broccoli was an entirely different sensory experience for them. The infants stared intently at the broccoli trees at first, and eventually began nibbling on the bushy green top. It was interesting to observe the children rub the smooth papaya over their gums and then gently nibble the textured broccoli.
Our goal with this continued project is to provide contrasting fruits/vegetables in order for the children to have contrasting sensory experiences when playing, tasting, feeling, smelling, and observing them! Sensory play is incredibly important for children, especially at this young of an age, because it allows them to work on their fine motor skills, cognitive development, social development, language acquisition, and allow them to experience the world and develop the knowledge on their own terms.
According to Suzanne Gainsley: We know that young children are oriented toward sensory experiences. From birth, children have learned about the world by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, and hearing. Sensory play also contributes in crucial ways to brain development. Think of it as “food for the brain.” Stimulating the senses sends signals to children’s brains that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning. For example, as children explore sensory materials, they develop their sense of touch, which lays the foundation for learning other skills, such as identifying objects by touch, and using fine-motor muscles.
To read our previous blog posts on this food exploration study: