Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sensory Play for the Un-Perfect

I've been in the Early Childhood Education field in one way or another for more than half of my life; if you count my early babysitting business, that would make it about 21 years.  Throughout those years, I've taken college courses, attended conferences and completed required continuing education hours on a variety of child-related topics.

Recently, I've gotten involved in a program which supports in-home care providers like myself with resources and training.  I attended my first of (hopefully) many of said classes this past week and I must say, it was by far the best training I've been to in my entire education career.  It was all about sensory play and it was completely hands-on!  For nearly two hours, I got to act like a kid and just play with a wide variety of materials: goop, gak, doughs, sensory bags, sensory/discovery bottles, etc.  Although I've used all of these things in my preschool classrooms for years, there is something about being surrounded by other people who are as passionate about children and about learning how to provide new and amazing experiences for children as I am that heals the soul and inspires creativity.

Needless to say, I had big plans for class the next day!  I had purposely left our water beads from the previous day out with the hope that they'd dehydrate and we could start a discussion about what happened and what we could do next.....unfortunately, as is the way of things in Miss-Lindsey-World, that's not quite how it turned out.  The water beads did not dehydrate, they became a strange water bead jelly-like substance....hmmm, what to do with that?  Add some more water to it and wait and see what the kids make of it.

Everything started out just beautifully, they were scooping, transferring, pouring, and otherwise manipulating in a myriad of ways.

When I told my parent helper for the day that I was going to go inside and begin preparing our fruit salad for snack, things went a bit awry.  The children decided they should make fruit salad as well.  And their fruit salad definitely needed some cinnamon.

A little dirt/dust from the yard and voila!  Cinnamon has been added!

Mix, mix, stir, stir, shove some in a test tube for later experimentation.
Fruit salad, anyone?

Come on, now, we've all seen those pictures on Facebook, Pinterest and blogs of gorgeous invitations for sensory play.  The materials are placed beautifully in glass bowls on a pristine table surrounded by fresh flowers and perfectly placed mirrors for maximum reflection of ambient light.  Also, I'm fairly certain every blogger out there has taken photography classes.  Makes the rest of us feel a bit like underachievers, doesn't it?  I jest, I'm an avid follower of aforementioned bloggers and shall forever strive for such aesthetics.  However, at this moment in time, here I am shedding light on the real world of sensory play - it's messy - and not in a pretty, colors-always-blend-into-a-perfect-secondary kind of way.  Eventually, given enough time and enough children, everything is brown.

Sooooo, my solution for this particular kind of brown??
Rainbow Bubbles!!!  Inspired by my friend Liz over at Fit Kids Clubhouse.
Once the interest in fruit salad had waned a bit, I added some liquid dish soap to the water table and invited the children to swish it all about to make as many bubbles as they could.  When the table was completely filled with bubbly goodness, I drizzled liquid water color over the top and the children were immediately fascinated and couldn't wait to get their hands in there, swishing and swirling.

 Surely this activity is going to turn out exactly as expected!
And right when I thought I'd hit the sensory jackpot......the children remembered that today, for them, was all about cooking and that perhaps I'd done them a favor by adding a new and interesting ingredient.
 An ingredient that goes very well..... fruit salad.


  1. I love this post for so many reasons ;)
    ...and that fruit salad is exactly what play is all about, so that makes it perfect!

  2. Thanks, Liz! I just feel honored that you, blog goddess, are stopping by to read! :)

    1. Aw, that's sweet. I only wish I even had the time to write. You have written more posts since you started this than I have written in the past three months! Yikes!! I think blogging is a wonderful world to be a part of though, and I'm glad you have joined!! I will always stop by to read... and then there are times I will actually stop by Seedlings to see what I just read about, count on that ;)


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