Putting Sensory Play into Perspective

The Toddler One children practiced fine motor skills in the Rainbow Room by using the dropper to add green watercolor and oil to the clear water. According to Donna Ackerson of the Tampa Child Care Examiner, fine motor skills can affect a child’s ability to eat, write legibly, use a computer, and turn pages in a book. In order to have a steady grasp of these developed abilities when the children are older, it is important for the children to have a foundation in stability, sensation, and bilateral coordination.


The children observed the properties of oil and water as they poured and watch the oil form circles in the water. We believe that play is the highest form of research.  As the children noticed the separation of the oil and water, they began to splash the water.  From our observations, this was their way of trying to see if they could alter the state of the properties of the oil and water.




While acknowledging the color green we worked on the students recognizing their numbers in the color orange. We used number ice cubes with frozen orange watercolor and then we counted with the children, helping them identify their numbers. The teachers engaged in conversation with the children to bring attention to the colors and numbers that were presented in front of them.


IMG_0903IMG_0905Putting sensory play into different perspectives the students found that the oil was very slippery and the ice was cold to the touch. This exploration developed the toddlers’ awareness of their hands, arms, fingers and how they moved in an educational context because they learned that oil and water do not mix, the colors green and orange, and their recognition of numbers. Using their hands through out this experience improved the children’s dexterity but also a stepping- stone into hand dominance. By using both hands, one is more dominant and the other hand is used to help the other in the activity. This can set the stage for determining the child to be right-handed or left-handed.


Properly defined motor skills are crucial to every day life in which a firm foundation in stability, sensation, and bilateral coordination are small but essential skills we all take for granted. These skills will strengthen the child’s self-help abilities and will make them successful at tying their own shoes, buttoning their own clothes (when the time comes), and communicating clearly through writing and expressive arts. By incorporating various aspects such as exploring material properties, colors, and numbers through sensory play the children have expanded their horizons even deeper. Most importantly, the experience gifted the children with the knowledge that they are capable, creative, intelligent beings by utilizing their fine motor skills in such a rich, dynamic context.

“Our task regarding creativity is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible.”

-Loris Malaguzzi


To read more about the importance of developing fine motor skills, click here:

This entry was posted in 2014, Toddler 1 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *