During the toddlers’ outdoor playtime the class explored shaving cream. We set out tables and let them explore with the material. The children were hesitant at first to touch the gel and soon figured that if they did touch and play with it, it would turn to a foam substance. After realizing this, the children ended up writing with their finger tips in the shaving cream, sang their ABC’s and some even drew pictures. Although sensory play can look just like messy fun it is much more than that. According to Kristi of Creative Connections for Kids, “messy play can be calming to children. It is not just about making a mess and getting dirty; it is an essential component to learning that encourages exploration and discovery through play.”
The children used their sense of sight, touch and smell in order to learn and explore this new material. They used their sight to discern the color of the shaving cream in its gel-like blue, substance and observed how it transformed into a foamy substance in a lighter hue of blue. During this observation the children used their sense of touch to explore the texture of the shaving cream. When they first touched the shaving cream it had a thick and gooey texture. When the children played with it the shaving cream had turned into a thin and airy texture. To add to this sensory experience, the children used their sense of smell in their exploration because shaving cream has a kind of soapy and “clean” scent.
Even though the toddlers were at first hesitant to play with the shaving cream, once they explored and observed the shaving cream and its properties with their senses the children were fully open to continue exploring. Already this provocation has provided meaningful insight for the toddlers. The children can take away from this experience the knowledge of knowing they have the power to overcome an assumption or hesitation. This fosters an open mind and self-assurance in each child.
Despite being outdoors the children explored with the shaving cream in different contexts. In the beginning the children explored the shaving cream using a large plastic container. In this context the toddler explored on their own or with another friend. As the children played with the shaving cream using their hands this experience transitioned into putting the shaving cream on their bodies. In this second context by putting the shaving cream on the body the children practiced self-awareness. According to Loris Malaguzzi learning is relational and students can learn from each other when they combine their intelligence in groups. Throughout this provocation the children explored shaving cream together and in the third context most of the children used shaving cream on a table while writing with their fingers, singing the ABC’s and drawing pictures. Our children have begun to develop a steady grasp of how to interact and learn from others as well as learning to be open-minded, and to try new things. These skills are priceless qualities to develop at such a young age because this not only enriches the children’s awareness of their potential but will resonate with them in future endeavors.
“Children are strong, rich, and capable. All children have preparedness, potential, curiosity, and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings them.”
-L. Boyd Caldwell, author
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