Tag Archive | sensory activities

Get Dolled Up!

Many caregivers underestimate the value of playing with dolls, especially for boys!  However, regardless of gender, playing with dolls teaches children valuable life lessons and provides growth opportunities in all areas of child development.

 

Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum

 

 This week’s Theme: Bath Time

Activity DescriptionPlay Time (Sensory): Using a water table or sensory bin, give your dolls a bath.  Provide soap, sponges, etc.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Emotional Development

Specific Skill: Developing self-confidence

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 4 months

 

  • Set up – Since this was an exercise in developing self-confidence, I had the girls take the lead in setting up.  I asked them to think of the things we would need in order to bathe the dolls and instructed them to collect the items.  They tested the water to decide weather it needed to be warmer or cooler, they added the bubble bath and swooshed it around to make bubbles and they placed towels on the floor to catch any spilled water.
    The girls set up most elements of this play area

    The girls set up most elements of this play area by themselves

     

  • Play – When playing with dolls, children often mimic their experiences and daily routines (this is what makes it a great confidence booster); it provides an opportunity for them to practice and demonstrate that they know what needs to be done and how to go about doing it.  You can see evidence of this in both the physical and linguistic components of their play.
"Time to wash your legs," says O

“Time to wash your legs,” says O

"Close eyes, I rinse the hair," says M

“Close eyes, I rinse the hair,” says M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I dry you," says M

“I dry you,” says M

"Get warm in a towel," says O

“Get warm in a towel,” says O

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extension – The girls actually extended this activity on their own.  They decided that after the bath was finished the dolls needed to get ready for bed, so they proceeded to carry out elements of their bedtime routine also.

O brushes the doll's hair

O brushes the doll’s hair

M puts the dolls to bed

M puts the dolls to bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
**We recently received these dolls as a lovely hand-me-down gift from a dear friend (Auntie A).  We hadn’t purchased this type of doll for them before and we were surprised to find how much they enjoy them.  They particularly like them because they can be manipulated into so many different positions.  In any case, it doesn’t matter if you have this type of doll (or wish that your children never play with this type of doll), all you need is a plastic-type doll whose hair you don’t mind getting wet!  You can even use action figures if you want!

 

Interested in Emotional Learning Activities for 15-18 months?  Click here!

Interested in Emotional Learning Activities for 18-24 months?  Click here!

There’s Orange on Your Face!

Halloween provides a wonderful opportunity to teach and reinforce the colour orange!  Today’s post is an amalgamation of two activities that centre around pumpkin carving. One is an emotional learning activity that involves looking at pictures of jack-o-lantern faces and interpreting the different emotions that are displayed in each (a template is provided in the curriculum package) – then choose one to carve!  The other is a social learning activity that involves reading a book to help explain sustainability concepts and how to reduce waste (this also becomes a part of the pumpkin carving experience – the reason I could not separate the two activities).  I chose to focus on the social learning activity for this post.

 

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: More Colours

Activity DescriptionStory Time: Before carving a pumpkin face [Today’s Emotional Learning Activity] read a book that explains how pumpkins grow and about what can be done with the flesh and seeds (instead of just throwing them away).  Roast some pumpkin seeds, make a pie, save some seeds for planting.  Book Ideas: Pumpkin Circle (Levenson), My Pumpkin (Noonan), From Seed to Pumpkin (Pfeffer), I Like Pumpkins (Smath)

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Learning about sustainability and reducing waste

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 23 months + 3 weeks

 

1.As the activity describes, we read some books together to discuss the life cycle of a pumpkin, the parts of a pumpkin and all the things that can be done with a pumpkin.  Here are two of the books we read.

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson

From Seed to Pumpkin, by Jan Kottke

From Seed to Pumpkin, by Jan Kottke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  We began the pumpkin carving exercise.  For the sustainability/reducing waste theme, we focused on collecting the seeds for roasting/eating and for planting…..

The first glimpse…. I kept telling them, oooh, look, it’s just like in the books we read!  They were saying “seeds”, “seeds in here!”

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Scraping & separating the seeds…. “Yucky”, M kept saying.

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Washing & straining the seeds… “Clean the seeds now”, says M.  “Get soap?”, asks O!  “No, just water.”, I tell her.

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Set the seeds to dry… We will roast them once they are dry.  I don’t think they will be able to eat them (choking hazard) so I guess I’ll cut them a small piece to taste and then ask them if we should package the rest up as a snack for Daddy to take to work.  (I know they will say yes…anything for Daddy!)

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2.  After completing the emotional learning exercise described in the introduction of this post, we set to carving the pumpkin face.  They chose a happy face.

Daddy carves, we poke/pull out the pieces…

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Taa Daa!  We learned about emotions, about sustainability and reducing waste, we had fun, and now we have this mesmerizing  jack-o-lantern (our first ever!)

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Happy Halloween to all of our readers who enjoy this tradition!!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

Paint-sicles!

From birth, our children are natural scientists, mathematicians and artists.  This is because they are constantly making efforts to understand (and express their understanding of) their world.  When we provide an enriching and supportive environment for our babies, they intuitively use that opportunity to absorb everything they possibly can.  Today’s activity is an example of an easy-to-implement, hands-on project that will engage your baby in a fun and creative way and that will help develop your baby’s sense of joy and wonder….and as a result…probably yours too!

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: African Animals

Activity DescriptionIce Cube Painting (Sensory): Make ‘paint cubes’ and use them to paint a picture of lions and/or make an independent piece of artwork.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative

Specific Skill: Exploring different art mediums

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 22 months + 2 weeks

1. Preparation:

Put a small amount of paint* in each cube

Put a small amount of paint* in each cube

Add water to each cube

Add water to each cube

Mix water and paint*

Mix water and paint*

Add handles and put in the freezer

Add handles  (I used Q-tips) & put in the freezer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taa Daa! Frozen paint cubes!

Taa Daa! Frozen paint cubes!

*To make ‘paint’ you can use juice crystals, food colouring (which are both edible) or actual tempera paint (which is what I used)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. To warm up, we reviewed the vocabulary by playing with our African animal figurines and we sang a song included in the activity plan.

3.Since we are learning about lions today, I provided them with a lion colouring page (which is a template included in the Reaching Roses activity plan) and let them paint it!

Eager little hands!

Eager little hands!

M starts painting

M starts painting

Getting the hang of it!

Getting the hang of it!

Great job O!

Great job O!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
4. Now it’s time to let them create some original pieces of artwork!

"Circle' said M as she draws circles!

“Circle’ says M as she draws circles!

M's masterpiece

M’s masterpiece

Having fun!

Having fun!

O could NOT get enough of this activity

O could NOT get enough of this activity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOW!  They spent a considerable amount of time creating with these frozen paint cubes.  I knew they would like it but was surprised by the level of enthusiasm and excitement.  We will definitely do this again!!

 

Want to check out some more sensory ideas?

(15-18 mths) Click here! (18 -24 mths)Click here!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

 

 

Bring Some Sense to Your Babies!

In any early childhood forum (this one included), the words “sensory learning” pop up so often that it seems they must be synonymous with early learning itself.  So then, what exactly, is sensory learning?  Why is it so valued?  And how can you provide your baby with sensory learning experiences?  Indeed, sensory learning forms part of my teaching philosophy, so today we’ll look at some simple answers to these questions.

On alternating Fridays I blog about parent/teacher

hot topics & interesting info or Q&A

 

 Today’s Topic: Sensory Learning

Sensory Learning

  • What is it?

Simply put, it is learning through the stimulation of the senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching/feeling and tasting).  One of the ideas behind it, is that learning and retention improve, the more our senses are engaged.  Also, since babies are not able to speak and can not understand everything that is being spoken to them, this is their natural and main method of experiencing the world and learning about things.  Often, sensory activities have “open-ended” learning outcomes (meaning the learner is not bound by rules, instructions and a specific objective.  The outcome is whatever is appealing and valuable to the learner – whatever the learner wants it to be.)

  • Why is it so valued?

The sensory learning approach is one component of education deemed important by Maria Montessori (the founder of the Montessori educational philosophy) and has been legitimized by teachers, parents,caregivers and children worldwide.  Sensory activities offer a range of learning opportunity in all categories of child development.  Here are some examples:

  1. Language Development – Children want to use language when they have experiences that are interesting to them.  Sensory experiences are exciting because each child can use the materials differently.
  2. Social & Emotional Development – In sensory learning experiences, children control their actions and their experience.  This heightens their self-confidence and enables them to make decisions; it encourages self-discovery as they indulge their curiosity.  Sensory activities are also conducive to cooperative play and learning to understand somebody else’s viewpoint.
  3. Gross Motor & Fine Motor Development – This can include pouring, measuring, stirring and whisking interesting materials or examining different surfaces with hands and feet.
  4. Creative DevelopmentGiven the open-ended nature of sensory activities, creative development can flourish because the process of what is being done, is more important than the outcome.  The sky is the limit!
  5. Cognitive Development – There are so many things that can be listed here, I will mention a few:  Math skills (size, counting, timing, matching, classifying, sorting).  Simple concepts (sink/float, full/empty, more/less).  Science (cause and effect, gravity, solids vs. liquids, problem solving).
  • How can you provide sensory learning experiences?

The good news is, it’s easy, inexpensive and the possibilities are endless!  If there is a down-side, it is that sensory activities are often messy, requiring a suitable space and sometimes, considerable clean up time.  The simplest explanation I can give is, provide your child/baby with a 1) a tactile material and 2) objects with which to manipulate the material.

  1. Examples of materialsWater, sand/mud, rice, pasta, cornmeal, dry beans, play-dough, saw dust, grass seed, shaving cream, finger paint, clay, confetti, putty, whipped cream, rocks, buttons, foam pieces……………..
  2. Examples of objects used to manipulate the materials – basters, whisks, waterwheels, shovels, pails, funnels, plastic containers, ice cube trays, tongs, cooking utensils, sponges, sea shells, sifters, plastic eggs, combs, moulds, vehicles, bowls, straws, pipe cleaners………

* Be sure that the materials don’t present a choking hazard and also be mindful of using materials that can cause a slipping hazard (shaving foam, soap, water, etc.  Putting down a mat or towel can help mitigate slipping).

Pictures from some of the sensory learning activities we have done:

Finger painting with different liquids

Finger painting with different liquids

Baking with babies!

Baking with babies!

Drumming on different surfaces

Drumming on different surfaces

 

Pouring different objects

Pouring different objects

Drawing in scented, coloured sand

Drawing in scented, coloured sand

Making faces with food

Making faces with food

Play-dough

Play-dough

Using utensils & textured paint

Eating utensils & textured paint

Melting ice

Melting ice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhythmic dancing with scarves

Rhythmic dancing with scarves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out one of our most popular posts – Make your own sensory toys!

For more sensory activities, click here (15-18 months) or here (18-24 months)

How Do We De-ice Airplanes?

Playing with ice is a simple, inexpensive and stimulating sensory learning activity.  It is an engaging activity on its own but I added a couple of little twists in order to help promote our language learning objectives and to add more dimensions of experimentation and discovery.  It was a hit, I know your children will enjoy it too!

It was a long weekend in Canada so we were out of town, arriving home only last night.  This is an activity we did last week from the Transportation activity plan from Reaching Roses; it was mildly focused on planes but included all four of our weekly vocabulary words.  Next week we will begin with a new activity plan (all about vegetables).

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Transportation

Activity Description Frozen Fun (sensory): Take some toy planes (and other modes of transportation), place them in a container with some water and put them in the freezer ; if desired, add food colouring.  Your baby can help you do this. Once frozen, place the ice into a warm bath, water table or wading pool  and let your baby explore the properties of ice.  Watch as they try to figure out what happens as the ice melts (and if you added food colouring, they will marvel at the diffusion of colour).

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Cognitive

Specific Skill: Experimentation and discovery

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 19 months + 3 weeks

Part One – Icing the planes (and other modes of transportation)

1. It’s was a rainy day so we did a lot of lead up to this.  We read books, we pretended to be trains, planes, cars and boats (moving quickly and slowly – emphasizing the activity plan’s secondary vocabulary), we did transportation puzzles and we sang songs!

2.  We put our transportation toys into coloured water (while wearing dress-up hats), placed them into the freezer and waited…..

 

Ready to add colour

Ready to add colour

M adds blue

M adds blue

M adds yellow

M adds yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O adds red

O adds red

O adds green

O adds green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy made orange and purple.  Ready for the freezer

Mommy made orange and purple. Ready for the freezer

Part Two – Playing with ice! (We did this part on a hot, sunny day but you could easily do it in a bath tub).

  • Looking at the ice!  Since they took part in making the ice, they were so excited when I took it out of the freezer to show them.  I heard them saying, “WOW”, “cold ice” and “car stuck”.

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  • Place the iced vehicles into warm water!  They were so excited by the diffusion of colour and were trying to catch it or grab it with their hands (learning that this is not possible)

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  • Play, experiment, discover!
O took an interest in the orange iceberg containing a plane

O took an interest in the orange iceberg containing a plane

O dips it in and out of the water, noticing that the plane is becoming more visible

O dips it in and out of the water, noticing that the plane is becoming more visible

O discovering that it is not so easy to pull something out of ice

O discovering that it is not so easy to pull something out of ice

M takes a look at this plane too

M takes a look at this plane too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cousin E, joins the fun!

Cousin E, joins the fun!

Cousin E, has almost complete de-iced a plane!

Cousin E, has almost completely de-iced a plane!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, adding colour and freezing something into the ice adds extra layers of discovery and learning opportunities for ice-play.  Try it with your little one!

 

Want to check out other stimulating sensory activities suitable for 18-24 months?  Click here!