Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday sensory bins

I've shared pictures of my kiddos enjoying sensory bins before - 53 times it seems!  It's something that I obviously love, to have written about it and provided these experiences so many times.  This week I had the pleasure of watching kiddos explore holiday sensory bins at our local library story time.  They were fascinated!  Here are four awesome sensory experiences - maybe your children would enjoy them too!

Tinsel, magnet wands, and jingle bells.  So simple, and yet...

"Magic Snow"  comes as a powder, but when you add water it swells up and feels like cool wet snow.  Here's one link to it - I don't use affiliate links, I'm just sharing this to help you find it if your child would enjoy it!  My older son had some many years ago, and LOVED it.  The library hid finger puppets in it for the children to find, but I saw just as many children scooping up hand fulls and arm fulls.

Pine cones and wood shavings.  These have the added benefit of smelling lovely!  These are two very different textures, contrasting nicely.  There were also magnifying glasses in here, which the children used as scoops.

The final bin was of fake decorative snow, little bits of shiny plastic, intended as a holiday decoration.  I watched one child in particular pick up hand fulls, then  stand up and slowly release it back into the bin, so it really looked like a blizzard coming from her hands.  The fine motor workout as she rubbed her fingers to drop the pieces was impressive, but to her it was obviously just pure joyful play.

Yes, it got messy - we had 78 children attend story time this week!  Before putting out the sensory bins we laid down large table cloths, and that did help with clean up.  If the mess worries you, there are many other mediums for sensory bins that clean up quickly: pompoms, nuts in the shell, acorns, popsicle sticks, etc.  You can also take sensory play outside, so there's not a mess in the house.  Two of my favorite outside sensory bin fillers are bird seed and seed corn - any that is dropped becomes bird and squirrel food, and we often have the opportunity to observe them up close as they clean up our messes!

Now, inspired by these fun bins put together by the library staff for our lucky kiddos, I'm thinking about what sensory bins we could make for other holidays.  Dreidels and candles, blue and silver tinsel strips for Hanukkah?  Dried corn or beans with red, green and black candles, a unity cup, and small gift boxes for Kwanzaa?  The possibilities are endless!

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