Updated: Mar 9
Mrs. Whited, our Sunflower Garden Kindergarten teacher, shares her expertise with us regarding young children and sensory play. Thank you, Mrs. Whited!
Mrs. Thaw comes with her broom,
Sweeping up the snow to make some room,
For flowers and all things green,
Here comes Lady Spring!
In our Sunflower kindergarten, Mrs. Thaw has been visiting the play yards and sweeping up all of the snow, making way for Spring's arrival! We will sing the verse above with wonderful sweeping gestures that the children will imitate with joy and vigor. The children have watched the snow melt away and wonderful ice and mud play opportunities are in abundance. With the temperature changes, we often slip, slide, and crunch in the morning and splash, squish, and squelch in the afternoon. The textures and sounds are a sensory nurturing paradise!
In the first 7 years of life, children take in everything from their environment through their senses and use all of this information to grow their physical bodies. This is the work of Early Childhood! Sensory play has a critical role in brain development. Exposing children to various sensory experiences is necessary for the young brain to develop the proper sensory processing capabilities, which impacts their relationships with others and their interactions with their environment. The critical period for this brain growth is NOW! So, when you are washing your child's gear and probably the entire inside of your car after school pick-up, know that brain nourishment has occurred!
One of my favorite things to set up for my children for inside sensory play at home is something called a sensory bin. These are especially helpful for those moments where you need your little one to be independently occupied and are a great replacement for screens. The links below have some examples. My children would play endlessly in lentils, flour, water, and pasta with utensils, cups, and cars. The options are endless, but I do highly recommend setting some boundaries before starting play so everyone has a more positive experience and you aren't vacuuming up lentils for the next year. :)