Sensory Activities

Fall Sensory Play #2 – Sense of Hearing

Sensory play and sensory experiences are important events in a child’s day. Thru their senses, children come in contact with the world around them. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell are primary channels for information and influence how a child responds. Sensory activities also help the brain make connections and pathways for learning.

sounds of fall Besides having it’s own special sights, each season also has its own sounds. Some of the outside sounds of fall are birds flying south and the crunch of dried leaves. A friend heard a lot of noise in her yard and went to look. A flock of crows had landed and were chattering and cawing as they ate seeds from the dried plants. Sometimes, many birds will visit trees with berries and sing for their supper.

Some of the inside sounds are football games on the television and the heat turning on. Making popcorn is a favorite activity for anytime of the year, but it seems like we do it more often during the fall when night comes so much earlier. Zipping up coats is a sound that we do not hear much in the summer, but with cooler weather we are hearing it now.

Whether we are inside or outside, we often do not notice the small sounds in the background. A fun activity to do with your child, is to sit in a comfy spot, close eyes and just listen to the sounds for a minute. What did you hear? What did your child hear? Kids can listen to this video with their eyes closed and see if they can guess what it is. After a few guesses, they can listen again, but this time with their eyes open. Did they guess it was someone walking in leaves? They make lots of noise! Kids might want to go outside and crunch some leaves themselves. What other sounds are there for fall where your family lives?

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 8: Mud Play

To children, mud is magical. Altho countless generations of children have loved to play with mud, to a child mixing some, it seems to be unique and personal. Once kids know the formula, it can be created over and over.

Mud Play

mud play fun and learningThere are so many different ways to play with mud. It’s fun to stir, squish, pour, pat, mold, pile, and other actions. Playing with mud is no doubt a highly sensory experience for the sense of touch. Most children enjoy the different feelings and textures of wet liquidy mud that oozes between fingers, even if it feels too tight when it dries. Mud is also a component of imaginative and creative play as kids form it into pies, cakes, soup, and more. Mud changes over time and can be mixed with sticks, rocks, pine cones, grass, flowers, and other things for even more fun.

Where I grew up, our small town was nicknamed Mudthorpe–because of the heavy, gooey mud that seemed to be everywhere, whenever it rained. As we waited for it to dry, cars would get stuck, boots would pull right off, and kids and some adults would fall in the mud and be covered from head to toe. While I loved playing with and in the mud, I sure hated having to scrape it off shoes and poke it out of the plugged wheels on my bike. Everyone could tell a car from Mudthorpe. It was never clean.

Sometimes, mud can be in short supply in cities but kids seem to have a built-in mechanism to find some, especially if they are wearing good clothes. But, one of the advantages of mud is that it can usually be all washed off with soap and water. Does your child like to play in the mud?

Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Fun with Christmas Slime

Fingers, hands, and brains can get too busy with holiday excitement, so playing with slime can help kids release tension, explore the sense of touch, and develop some kindergarten readiness too. It is surprisingly easy to make and an intriguing change from regular playdough.

To make slime needs 2 bowls. In the first bowl mix 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of white glue. Add some red color, sprinkles, and a drop or two of a Christmas smell, like peppermint, cinnamon, or orange to also stimulate the sense of smell. In the second bowl mix 1 teaspoon of borax and 1 cup of warm water. Because I had used 2 smallish bowls when I did this, I poured the water/borax into a big measuring cup then poured the glue/water into that. Even before I had a chance to put down the  bowl, the solutions had started to form the slime (a polymer). I stirred it up thinking the water would mix in, but it doesn’t. I drained off the excess water and there was a big glob of slime left in the bowl. It was still quite warm so had to cool a bit, but was ready to play with in just a few minutes.

The slime stretched, spread out, broke and flowed together. When Little Sister saw Big Sister pulling it up into a slimy string she declared “I no like that!”. After a minute or two of watching, she felt brave enough to touch it, then poke it and soon had a big ball to play with too. Both Big Sister and Little Sister loved rolling, patting, ripping, and smooshing. When left on the counter for a potty break, the slime spread out like a puddle. Big Sister pushed some over the edge to see if it would drip, and it did–very, very slowly.

Besides the sensory experience, there was lots of questions, possible explanations, and talking about the experience. The kids shared and negotiated, watching what each other did and trying those ideas. Hands, wrists, and fingers got lots of exercise. The slime wasn’t the only thing that stretched, so did concentration span. All of those are important skills that will be part of kindergarten readiness and later learning. Making slime sounds complicated but is very doable. Is this something your child would enjoy?

Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play Cooking Bin

A few items, that you may quite likely already have, can be put together to make a sensory bin for some cooking fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness for young children. While it will take a few minutes to sort these things out later, they can still be used once they are rinsed and cooked in … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play Cooking Bin

Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play and Exploration

After Little Sister had some sensory play for hearing (see Sensory Play #5) Big Sister wanted to try it too, adding even more fun, learning, kindergarten readiness, and, alas, more drums, as well as the vocal accompaniment. Holding on to the pot and aiming the wooden spoon were enough challenge for the little one, but… … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play and Exploration

Kindergarten Readiness: A Sensory Walk for Seeing

Today’s sensory play-of-the-day is going for a walk to seek out some learning, fun, and kindergarten readiness. The weather here was lovely and Big Sister, who is 4, was asked to help take pictures of things that we could see. Little eyes are much closer to the ground and some of the photos have things … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: A Sensory Walk for Seeing

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks in a Bottle

The ingredients of this bottle are rocks plus kindergarten readiness learning and fun. Just a minute or two on Pinterest is all it takes to find many super ideas for discovery or sensory bottles for kids. Since this month’s posts are learning activities with rocks, how about filling a bottle with rocks, stones and pebbles? … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks in a Bottle

Kindergarten Readiness – Brains Are For Smelling

Earlier blog posts this month have included ways to develop children’s intelligence and kindergarten readiness in multiple areas. Because humans experience the world through their senses, it’s important to encourage sensory development for brain growth, too. Noses aren’t the only part of the body used for smelling, so are brains. Exploring the sense of smell therefore is an activity … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Brains Are For Smelling