Sensory play provides the children with the imaginative play they need to use their creativity and gain social and cognitive skills. Depending on what project they are working on, math, reading, or writing can be incorporated in playing with play-dough. One morning, it was cooking.
That morning, the children made their own play-dough. They poured and mixed the flour, salt, and water until it was a solid dough! They were asking lots of questions like, ‘do we need more water?’ and ‘how much flour is this?’… They are measuring, as well as gaining social and problem-solving skills just by asking questions!
When they were finished mixing the play-dough, they began rolling it into balls, then flattening it out between plates. When the teacher asked them what they were doing, this is what they said:
Alexander: “I’m making a waffle!”
Jayson: “What kind of waffle?”
Alexander: “A smiley face waffle.”
Carmichael: “I’m gonna make it…”
Alexander: “I’ll cut it into pieces!”
When we decided to make waffles for our cooking project that week, a group of students helped the teacher look for a recipe on the computer. They saw pictures of waffles and got very excited! Cason said, “Mmm… I like waffles!” and Zoey said, “Oh me too, I want many waffles!” ;-P
They brought ingredients from home and we all sat down in the hallway to make the mixture. We poured, mixed, and stirred. With the teacher’s help, the children were reading the ingredients and directions, looking at the numbers and measurements of different measuring cups, and they were counting as we poured!
Once we made them, they were so big, we cut all of the waffles into fourths. Then they ate them! Mm-mm-mm! The children wanted whipped cream and syrup on their waffles, and they wanted more! It was delicious!
The children cook every week based on the projects they develop on their own in the kitchen area of the classroom. When we proceed to use different materials through out the week, they come up with different ideas and ingredients to include in their cooking project. By the end of the week, we use these ideas and many skills such as:
– Fine Motor Skills when measuring, mixing and pouring ingredients
– Math Skills (adding/subtracting and one-to-one correspondence) when measuring and counting cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons.
– And Reading Skills when reading the ingredients and directions of the cooking recipe.