Some very simple and inexpensive ingredients that you have at home can be used for sensory play, early learning, and kindergarten readiness. Flour, salt, water, oil, cream of tartar, and coloring. Those are all it takes to make a batch of playdough for some sensory play for touch. There are several versions and youtube videos with instructions but this one explains the process so well:
Playdough is ideal for little hands and for sensory stimulation. Fingers love to feel how it squishes, rolls, stretches, and flattens. A few kitchen tools, such as a plastic fork or picnic knife are great for poking and cutting. Have you ever tried cutting playdough with scissors? It is super easy and can easily be smooshed together to do it again. Make some small balls of playdough and let your child pick them up with salad tongs instead of fingers. A rolling pin gives a different sensory experience and uses bigger movements.
Kids can bury small objects such as bottle caps, big buttons, plastic animals, popsicle sticks, and small jar lids or they can find ones that grownups hide. Do you have some keys that are missing and can’t be found anywhere?? They might be in a lump of playdough. Sometimes toes and feet like to check out how playdough feels. If playdough is kept in the fridge it a covered container it will stay soft, but if it’s left out it will feel very different, as in hard and dry.
For some added sensory stimulation, add a few drops of an essential oil for a nice smell. Cinnamon also smells wonderful in playdough. Of course, this kind of playdough is not good for any tasting sense experiences. Do you have some playdough at home or in your center, or can you whip up a batch, for some touch sensory exploration fun and learning?
Sensory play is a natural way for children to interact with the world around them and helps them develop the skills they will need now and for later kindergarten readiness. For young children, some sensory play materials for hearing are as close as the kitchen. Pots and pans can make all kinds of wonderful sounds and when they are combined with a wooden spoon the fun can resonate throughout the whole house. For softer sounds let your little one try a spatula or a plastic spoon.
After a few times of playing with pots and pans, kids discover that different items will make different sounds. A wooden block tapped on the side of a pot is much louder than just a foam block. Not all the pots and pans will make the same sound. There’s a variety of ways to make sounds too, on the inside, the outside, the lid, the bottom, the sides and even the handle.
Besides the stimulation of the sense of hearing, as kids tap and hit the pots and pans, they are also stimulating the sense of movement. This helps children learn muscle coordination. They will know immediately if an action has been effective by the noise. Figuring out how to make loud noises and soft noises is part of muscle control.
Usually parents and caregivers will have shorter attention spans for this activity than kids. Can you handle some sensory stimulation of hearing as your child plays with pots and pans?
What sensory play and kindergarten readiness activity comes wrapped in blue sky, golden sun, and a rainbow of other colors? Some fun outside of course!
Nature contains endless opportunities for sensory stimulation. Just a walk can have lots to see with clouds, flowers, trees, rocks and bugs. Sometimes it’s hard to hear nature sounds in cities but, if there are no birds or brooks, kids can make some with 2 rocks tapped together. Any newly mowed lawns with the smell of grass? A picnic snack of fruits and veggies is one way to taste nature. Tree bark, soft grass, smooth stones, and wind are nature that kids can touch and feel.
In a yard, kids can interact with nature as they collect treasures such as twigs, pine cones, bits of bark, stones, leaves, and other things. A spoon and some containers are great for playing in the mud. With a few toys, kids can imagine and create as they play in a sand box. A pail and some dirt can make a home for a worm.
Sensory play stimulates the brain. Did you know that 90% of the brain is developed by age 5? That’s why play is so important for children, to encourage the growth of brain connections. And time outside supports the connection of kids to nature. Double the fun and learning. What does your child like best about outside play time?
Sensory play is one of the strategies that the brain uses for creating connections that will be used in all kinds of learning, including kindergarten readiness. An additional two senses are the sense of the body’s position in space and the sense of movement. Have you ever watched a very young child going round and … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play for May #2→
Sensory play supports children’s development, learning, and eventually, their kindergarten readiness. Basically, sensory play is an activity that stimulates the senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. In addition to these 5, there are 2 other senses which are the sense of the body’s position in space and the sense of movement. Many play activities … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play for May #1→
All month long, plays-of-the-day for early fun and learning and kindergarten readiness have started with the letter p, because April starts with a p. Today’s post is making a magic potion. What kids use for making a potion determines what containers they will need and where they make it. Potions with sand, mud, and rocks … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Magic Potion Recipe: Kids + Play→
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Encouraging your toddler’s early learning or preschooler’s kindergarten readiness can be as easy as opening a drawer in your kitchen. Having a drawer with plastic containers and safe tools gives your child something to play with while you are busy. The crawlers discover how they can take everything out of the drawer. Small containers will … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Fun & Learning in the Kitchen→
What kindergarten readiness learning and fun can be squished, rolled, cut, stretched, smooshed, and patted? Playdough, of course. (Plus it starts with a p since April starts with a p.) Playdough can be played with in other ways, too. It’s a great toy for children at several stages. Once kids have learned that playdough doesn’t … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough Play-of-the-Day→
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