Tag Archive | sensory learning

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Today’s activity is a great example of how to add purpose and comprehension to an art project.  It’s illustrates exactly, how to turn fun into learning, how to engage and excite a child’s natural curiosity and how to prepare a child so that an activity is meaningful to them.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as we did!

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: Ocean Animals

Activity DescriptionOceanic Wall Mural (Sensory): Get a large canvas or large piece of poster paper as the basis for your mural.  Gather bubble wrap (different sized bubbles would be great) and cut them into manageable pieces (suitable for your baby).  Paint the bubble wrap blue (use different shades if desired) and stamp it onto the poster paper to make the ocean back ground.  Then glue/stick/draw on ocean animals and plants to complete the mural.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative Development

Specific Skill: Making a print

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months + 1 week

This activity had two parts (because we had to let the paint dry before we could add plants and ocean animals)

Part 1 – Making a print

1.  I briefly explained that we were going to make a big picture of the ocean to put up on our wall. It’s a new concept so they weren’t quite sure but they understood that it involves water.  So I explained to them that we were going to make the bubbles in the water for our picture.

2.  I demonstrated how to paint the bubble wrap and press it onto the mural. Then it was their turn!

O & M painting the bubble wrap

O & M painting the bubble wrap

O presses it onto our mural

O presses it onto our mural

Taa Daa!  O made a print

Taa Daa! O made a print

M makes a print too

M makes a print too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Once the background was dry, I added seaweed and coral and tried to explain what they are. Then we set that aside to dry.

Several prints later.....

Several prints later…..

Mom adds coral and seaweed

Mom adds coral and seaweed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2 – Completing the mural

4. The first part of our warm up involved looking at a plush globe we have (Hugg-A-Planet). I just tried to convey that the coloured parts are where people live and the blue parts are the ocean where the fish live.

Hugg-A-Planet - Thanks Auntie M - we love it!

Hugg-A-Planet – Thanks Megs – we love it!

M put the whale on the ocean part of the globe

M put the toy whale on the ocean part of the globe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. For the second part of the warm up, we watched the BBC’s Blue Planet (not the whole thing, I fast forwarded to relevant parts).  I tried to convey that the ocean is an enormous body of water that many, many fish live in.  I paused the documentary several times to further explain concepts (like showing the seaweed and the coral and how the smaller fish like to live/eat/hide there and the ocean animals).  They were really excited saying things like, “Look, yellow fish. Wow, really big!”blueplanet

6. Now that they had a pretty good understanding of the ocean and a lot of practice with the vocabulary (ocean animals), we started to complete our mural. I showed them the stickers we had and asked them to name each one. I talked to them about space on the paper (a concept they are beginning to understand) – because we didn’t want all the stickers in one little area.

The materials we had to work with

The materials we had to work with

7. Then I let them loose!

…fine motor skills at work

M peels the sticker backing

M peels the sticker backing

M delicately places an octopus sticker

M delicately places an octopus sticker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..spacing and placing the stickers

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

An orange fish

An orange fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……the final product

A close up of one section

A close up of one section

Another section

Another section

We love our ocean mural

We love our ocean animals mural

 

 We had a great time doing this activity together! They were so excited to show it to Mr. Y when he got home; talking all about it! They really learned a lot!

 

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

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!

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)