Recently, there have been gazillions of blog posts and Pinterest activities on sensory play, and that’s because the brain uses the senses for learning and interacting. Sensory play is more than play and helps develop more than kindergarten readiness. Sensory tubs or bins can be used for all the senses, but this pirate sensory bin is for touching and seeing, with some hearing too.
Where do pirates like to shop? At the dollarrrr stores. A quick trip there and to the craft store was all that was needed to round up some treasures like buttons, pompoms, small rocks, plastic coins, and sparkles. A few hunts through the recycling bin and the drawers at home turned up some more. The bin was quite small but the play was big! Here are a few of the ways that this pirate had fun in the sensory tub:
- sorting colors. For a few of the colors, it was fun to find as many different things as possible. This is the skill of sorting and categorizing.
- scooping and pouring. This pirate filled the cups and other containers and poured them out over and over. It made a neat sound but like all pirates, the fun is in the filling the containers with treasure.
- finding treasures for the treasure chest. Discovering the little tiny plastic pirates buried in with all the rest was exciting. Of course, where there’s one there must be more and sure enough, there were a few pirates.
- pretending with the pirates. The toy pirates went on adventures and found treasures. They fell into the water and had to be rescued.
- touching. This bin had a variety of different textures and sizes, all fun to feel and explore with fingers.
- talking. Even though this was very much an independent activity, some of the discoveries and fun had to be shared and explained.
These were just a few of the ways that the sensory tub was fun and learning for this pirate, all as she played. The materials can be changed or kept for playing again another time. Children will play with sensory tubs in unique ways, as they discover and explore what is important to them at that time. Would your pirate like to play with a pirate sensory tub?
All languages are made of sounds and this is an important part of children’s early learning and play. Managing these sound bits will help for kindergarten readiness and later learning to read. Did you know that babies cry with an accent? Already at birth the brain has made some important connections for language sounds.
The word pirate starts with the letter P but the sound of P is more like “puh”. It’s a great word for having fun with sounds. What else starts with this same sound? Pants, pig, purple, parents. Some children may be able to name things on their own that start with the same sound; other children may need a parent or caregiver to supply a word and ask if they start the same. For example, we can ask kids, “Do pink and pirate start with the same sound? How about pirate and green? What do you wear that starts ‘puh’? Pants. Do we eat anything that starts ‘puh’? Pickles, perhaps, popcorn? Do pirates wear something that starts ‘puh’? A patch or a parrot!
Play also starts with the letter p and it’s fun to play with words and sounds. For younger kids, we can just say several words in a row, even some that do not start with that sound and see if they play along, like “Put your powl in the pink and we’ll pash your pands.” (Put your bowl in the sink and we’ll wash your hands.) When they catch on, kids think this is really funny. Older kids can try to do this themselves.
Language is made of tiny bits of sounds and these are put together like puzzles, but in all different ways. Figuring out these sound pieces is called phonological awareness and it’s an important skill for learning to read. As a rough guide about 80% of 5 year olds have some basic skills such as rhyming and initial sounds. For younger children, developing this awareness needs lots of language time. Can you and your pirate play some word games today?
Pirate treasure can be any color and while learning about colors is not specifically part of kindergarten readiness, it’s a great thinking–and pirate–activity that really exercises brains. How about a search for a pirate treasure of each color?
While a pirate’s favorite color is gold kids can go on a pirate hunt to find something red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or purple. Some kids might also like to find something black, white, grey, and brown. Gold and silver might be fairly easy as well to make a dozen colors!
For the hunt, parents and caregivers can make a treasure list with dots of each color and ask kids to go find each color one at a time. Kids that are ready may want to have the word printed beside each color and check them off themselves. This can be easy or tricky depending on the interest and level of each child, as long as it’s fun and playful.
Being able to attach the correct word to each color is a complex process that needs a great deal of experiences. It is not simple matching. Kids need to see many examples of all colors and gradually they are able to sort out which ones belong together in a group. Each color has so many different objects and a variety of shades that it is difficult to match the correct word. Just think of how many things can be yellow: the sun, a lemon, traffic signs, shirts, balls, a dandelion, and Big Bird. Yellow can be pale like butter or deep like gold. Learning colors takes lots of experiences and having fun makes it easier to remember.
What color treasures can your pirate find?
Pirates need to know some science, especially what can float and what will sink. Playing with water is great kindergarten readiness fun and learning for kids and pirates. Exploring what floats and what sinks will happen as kids play with a variety of items. Your pirate’s ocean can be a water table, bin of water, … Continue reading Pirate Fun Activities for Kids #5: Science
Pirates should be good at math; think of all the counting they do and counting treasure is a fun learning and kindergarten readiness activity for kids. At first, as children count they do not use numbers accurately but lots of experiences counting a variety of objects helps children develop a basic number sense. Pirates count … Continue reading Pirate Fun Activities for Kids #4: Math
Encouraging children’s connection to nature is a treasure that will last life-long; here’s a nature activity for fun, learning and kindergarten readiness. Using some kind of a container, such as a shoe box or egg carton, or even a pocket, kids can spend some time outside and collect bits of nature. Nature can happen in … Continue reading Pirate Fun Activities for Kids #3: Nature
When it comes to supporting learning, just reading and sharing books with kids is one of the most important activities that parents and caregivers can do for young children. Just think of how crucial it is for future success, that children develop the skills to read. Listening to stories and books builds the pathways that … Continue reading Pirate Fun Activities for Kids #2: Books
X shows where the treasure is on a pirate map, and drawing a map is a treasure of fun and learning that supports kindergarten readiness. Encouraging children to play with crayons, scissors, markers, and pencils before they start school, gives children some experiences but not all children are interested. Even those who are reluctant though, … Continue reading Pirate Fun Activies for Kids #1: Drawing Maps
X marks the spot for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning with making a pirate map. Pencil and paper activities do not appeal to all children. Some kids love to draw, color, cut, and paint, but others are not at all interested. But pirates need maps, and even children reluctant to try using any writing … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Making Pirate Maps
The letter X marks the spot for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning treasures. Kids all love to play pirates and look for treasure. For some treasure fun, give your child a box, such as a shoe box or even tissue box and choose a space to be the pirate den (such as under the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC’s – X Marks the Spot