COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

January 28, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on A Snowball Sensory Box

A Snowball Sensory Box

Sensory play is not only fun, but it’s an important learning experience for young children. Today I brought out one of my winter sensory boxes. I think of this one as the “snowball box” because it’s all white and contains mostly round objects. The ribbon lengths add some of the glitter found with new snow.

To take this experience further I added some different tubes to the table. This group enjoys putting items into containers. They like to stack building blocks. They like to count. Knowing this and providing materials to support their interests, as I expected, the play changed.

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To expand the learning I was able to direct the exploration into sizes and textures. We used different descriptive words starting from the concept of opposites. While exploring in this direction the children discovered that different sounds were occurring. They directed their learning at this point.

One simple sensory box =

  • cooperative play
  • fine motor
  • descriptive language
  • expressive language
  • self-esteem
  • math – shape, counting, volume
  • opposites/comparisons
  • sound
  • focus/attention span

One full morning of fun!

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As part of ongoing authentic assessment the videos here and additional ones taken will be used in planning future learning experiences and documented in ePortfolios connecting with the Maine Early Learning Developmental Standards (MELDS).

Here are 10 of the MELDS that were demonstrated this morning:

  1. Communicates math ideas verbally and non-verbally
  2. Recognizes the relationship between numbers and quantities
  3. Transitions from rote counting to 1:1 correspondence
  4. Matches similar shapes
  5. Explores three-dimensional and two-dimensional shapes in the environment
  6. Begins to speak audibly and, with prompting and support, express thoughts, feelings, and idea
  7. Chooses individual activities
  8. Develops increased capacity to share materials or caregiver/teacher’s attention
  9. Uses materials and equipment purposefully, safely and respectfully
  10. Explores objects and materials, and interacts with others in a variety of new settings

March 3, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Activities for Sensory Issues

Activities for Sensory Issues

Dealing with children that have sensory issues can be difficult in a childcare environment.DSC03648

What I have found over the years is that while I will focus extra sensory activities with the children that need them, in reality all the children enjoy them and the benefits go beyond the sensory.

This listing (origin unknown) provides some direction for activities that I adapt for our space.

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December 31, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Snow Dough to Noise Sticks……..Good Finish to 2013

Snow Dough to Noise Sticks……..Good Finish to 2013

It was just too cold outside today to get out but that just meant we got to have fun inside all day. The iPads got a good workout with most of the play being a new app: Sky Fish Phonics. Awareness of letter sounds are showing a strong improvement and I love the cooperative play I’m seeing.

This morning found us in the kitchen replenishing our homemade playdough supply. It was time for a new batch so made up what we are calling “snow dough”. Using my standard recipe: 1/2C salt, 1 C flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 2 TB oil, 1 C water. It all goes into a good size pan over med high heat and I stir until it’s like mashed potatoes. (You’ll know when it’s done, usually about 5 minutes for a single batch.) I empty the dough onto a silicone baking mat for kneading. I find it cools down quickly, so can work almost right away. Now is when I add any color, glitter, scents.

Our snow dough had glitter powder (DecoArt Glamour Dust – Crystal) and then regular silver glitter added to it. Not too much, just enough to act like the sparkling snow outside. This made the playdough non-edible, but we’re beyond that here now. For edible dough Wilton Pearl Dust would also work for the sparkle.

No color added, but a balsam essential oil was added. This group has really been enjoying the scented playdough this past year.

What a nice sensory experience – warm, soft playdough, balsam tree smell and glitter. It doesn’t get much better.

snowdough

To finish off the morning after lunch we made New Year’s Noise Sticks. These are a great activity for a mixed ages group. We had 2 to 11 year olds here today.

  • Start with paper towel tubes.
  • Staple off one end.
  • Fill with item for shaking.
  • Staple off remaining end.
  • Decorate.

Of course we got some extra learning in when we explored items that might make sound in a paper tube. We settled on dry kidney beans and dried corn kernels. These 2 items made very different sounds – beans were louder and harder/ corn was softer, more pingy ( I thought rain). We also discovered that the tubes sounded better when not filled all the way. The items needed space to move around, hitting off each other and the sides of the tube. The larger beans with the louder, thumpier sound used about 1/4C. The corn used 1/2C. The corn needed to rub by itself more for the sound it made. Added bonus of lots of descriptive words.

Decorating options were open to whatever had in the art space. Tissue paper with homemade mod podge was the choice. Loved seeing that creativity remained open. 2 year old was happy just painting the glue while I put down tissue pieces for her. The boys were all about just laying pieces down on top of each other (with I think great results). The older girls made sure their tubes were covered. Of course glitter was added while glue wet.

More embellishment meant ribbons and colored duck tape on the ends.

NoiseSticks

Each noise stick worked for it’s maker – just as an open project should.

 

October 31, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Sensory Play – First Exploration of Cracked Corn

Sensory Play – First Exploration of Cracked Corn

I love cracked corn for sensory tub play. With Fall here and bird feeders back up it was the perfect time to fill the sensory tub up with cracked corn. (If you haven’t played in cracked corn the softness experienced is a surprise.)

Playing in a sensory tub allows for so much learning that is child directed. Their imagination (brain) is engaged as they explore.

Fine/Gross motor skills:
Muscles are used without thought as they dig, pour, pinch, hold….

Cognitive development:
science concepts
make predictions
understanding about the world around them
problem-solving
reasoning

Language development:
words that describe sensations and actions
question what they think about what is happening
social communication

Here’s a look at a recent first experience in the cracked corn. cheese! Before getting into the exploration need to get the camera greeting out of the way. Love how I always get a “Cheese!” whenever the camera comes out from L. Even if she is nowhere near the camera/photo being taken I hear “Cheese”.

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Exploring alone is fun, but it’s interesting how it changes when a slightly older friend who has enjoyed this experience before arrives and joins in.

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