Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sensory Saturday

We know based on developmental theories that sensory exploration is a crucial part of early development and learning. Every day we take in information from sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Children, especially younger than 5 years old, rely on their senses to discover new things about their environment everyday! 

In preschool, I try to give the children opportunities to use their senses everyday. Questions such as "What do you hear?" "What do you smell?" "What do you see?" "What do you feel?" are asked on a regular basis in my classroom. One of their favorite questions is when I ask them, "Why do you think the paint feels cold? I did not pull it out of the refrigerator, did you?" They always giggle. 

This week we have been talking about the change of seasons from Fall to Winter. In Georgia, our fall is a lot like some state's summer, and our winter is a lot like some state's fall. This being said, snow is a common association with winter. In Georgia, very few 3&4 year olds have seen snow. This leaves me with the big challenge of allowing them to explore snow and other winter concepts in the classroom using their senses! 

We've began to deck the classroom with snowflakes, snowmen, icicles, mittens, scarves, and hats! We have new books on the shelf with lots of pictures and stories of all things winter! A great and simple introductory book for little ones is Amy Loves the Snow by Julia Hoban! 

For my kiddos, it's actually a good thing that I talk so much. I ask them questions all the time and answer their questions with more questions. I am hoping that this promotes critical thinking at a young age. So many kids are discouraged from asking questions or not answered honestly. We forget that these kids have only been alive for three years... think about it. You have 20, 30, 40+ years of life ahead of them. 
Music! Music is always a great way to engage the sense of hearing. SHHHHH... don't tell them, but I am actually going to surprise them by playing the Frozen sound track in the classroom for the next few weeks. I also have some preschool songs about changing of the seasons and winter!

Over the next few weeks, I am going to experiment with some different recipes I have for creating snow, snow doh, etc. The first one up was just plain shaving cream. The kids loved making a mess... and I loved... 
making them help clean it up! I don't know if they had more fun making the mess or cleaning up. They were up to their elbows in "SNOW!" Shaving cream has a pretty distinct smell, and it was entertaining listening to their answers of what it smelt like. My favorite answer was, "It smells like daddy!" 

Other recipes include baking powder, vinegar, cornstarch, and vegetable oil! I'll let you know later which ends up being our favorite! 

If you haven't figured it out yet, I really love to get messy. I feel like the messier an activity can get, the more learning can occur. My fellow teachers told me I was crazy. The shaving cream got everywhere, but the smiles on the faces were priceless. 
We also did a Pinterest favorite, My Melted Snowman. I put the white paint onto a small paper plate and let them go to town finger painting. (Note: the photo below is from Pinterest and not from my classroom. I will post one of ours later.) 

As you guessed it.... yes... one of my wonderful young kiddos tried the shaving cream. A very minute amount. I had to explain that this snow was not edible! We all had a good laugh. For snack tomorrow, I am bringing vanilla pudding and  a can of Reddi Wip, AKA Snow Wip, so that we can explore some tastes. There are so many different things that favor the color, texture, and imagined taste of snowflakes, and I can't wait to try each one! 

While it's not a sense, I had to mention it on here! Every Wednesday, my kiddos go to a 20 minute music class. Today they sang songs about snow and winter, and at the end of class- they went ICE SKATING! The music teacher had small sheets of wax paper, and each kid put a piece underneath their shoes. This allowed them to slide across the floor in a gliding motion. The kids loved it, and its an easy activity to do anywhere!!!! 

Any ideas you want to add to my classroom? 



Anonymous said...

My daughter just made borax "snow flakes" in her preschool class (4 year olds)-- the teacher handled the boiling water mixture of course, but they were able to discuss the structure of snowflakes and growing crystals. Plus it was a pretty take home! Since we live in the Cleveland area snow is common, but the kids (according to my daughter) enjoyed taking a closer look at actual snowflakes with a magnifying glass. There are some books with amazing photos of individual snowflakes that might be fun for kids to look at as well! Enjoy!! Sarah - crjandsbj(at)netzero(dot)com

Child Life Blog said...

That sounds awesome Sarah! I am going to look into that! We ended up loving the shaving cream with baking soda mixture. It lasted all week!