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REC IPES FOR LEARNING
K RIS T IN PER E Z
SENSORY IS SCIENCE...
and math, language, discovery, fine motor, gross motor and more!
Squish, pour, smash, squeeze, pound, drip, roll, smear, cut, grasp, form, shape, mold. Measure, sort, classify, identify, observe, respond, predict, & problem-solve. Cooperate, share, decide, control, confer, participate, understand, and develop. What do these words have in common? They are all ways that children engage, play, discover, explore, and LEARN through sensory experiences. Preschoolers learn through their senses. In fact, studies show that learning and retention improve when multiple senses are engaged. sensory station, they develop skills in the areas of ﬁne motor, gross motor, cognition, language, socialization, math, science, Sensory activities such as problem-solving, creative thinking and more! playing with water, While sticking to the cornmeal, beans or dried rice are meaningful methods “staples” is great, creating rich and ever-changing of allowing children to explore their world through sensory bins is even better! We hope you enjoy our tried child-driven, open-ended and hands-on initiatives. As and true recipes for some seriously en-GROSS-ing the children work at the fun!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
WATER FOUR WATER, ON THE ROCKS SIX PCS PLAYDOUGH SEVEN CLOUD DOUGH EIGHT GAK NINE OOBLEK TEN SAND DOUGH ELEVEN PUFFY SNOW PAINTINGS TWELVE THEMATIC BINS THIRTEEN THE SWAMP FOURTEEN DINO DISCOVERY FIFTEEN MORE WAYS TO COOK UP FUN SIXTEEN GROSS MOTOR SENSORY SEVENTEEN GARDENS AND MUD EIGHTEEN 100% NATURAL NINETEEN THINK OUTSIDE THE BIN TWENTY CONCOCTIONS, MAGNETS, TWENTY-TWO VOLCANOS AND MORE FROM THE GROCERY AISLE TWENTY-THREE TIME FOR TAKE-OUT TWENTY-FOUR RESOURCES TWENTY-FIVE
WATER IS BY FAR ONE OF THE MOST ENGAGING AND ENTERTAINING SENSORY ITEMS. CHLIDREN CAN POUR,SPLASH, FUNNEL, DRIP,
• WATER! Sprinklers: Let the fun begin! Hang them from a tree for extra fun! Bike wash: buckets of soapy water, sponges, bikes Drive-thru car wash: hang a long sprinkler and have the student drive their bikes through the falling water
Mad Scientist: Colored water, beakers, test tubes, ice cube trays, eye droppers
Serving Suggestion: Colors, funnels, buckets, tongs, sea creatures, shells, sprinklers, water mills, cups, spoons, jewels, gems, boats, dishes and sponges
WATER, ON THE ROCKS
Ice: cubed, crushed, frozen in a bowl Arctic: animals frozen in blocks of ice. Serve with small hammers for excavation!
SHHH.....THIS IS OUR “SECRET” RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
• 5 cups ﬂour • 5 cups water • 8 tablespoons oil ( 1/2 c. for really soft & oily) • 3 tablespoons cream of tartar • 1 cup salt
Add a few drops of food coloring to the water if desired. Over mediu heat, mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir frequently until a soft dough forms. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Think outside the box! Add: glitter, colors, spices, sand, etc to increase the sensory experience. Use with: cutters, rollers, pasta (this makes great ‘fossils’), buttons, googly eyes, chenille stems. Mr. Potato Head pieces, and more!
SPICE UP YOUR PLAYDOUGH! AFTER MAKING YOUR DOUGH, KNEAD IN SPICES OR EXTRACTS TO INCREASE THE SENSORY EXPERIENCE: CINNAMON ALL SPICE PUMPKIN PIE SEASONING ROSEMARY THYME PEPPERMINT OIL
• 4 cups white ﬂour • 1 cup baby oil Mix together to make a super-soft, cloud-like dough.
Serve with cookie cutters, spoons, cake molds, bowls, and ice cream scoops.
MESSY TIP: ALL MESSES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. FOR ESPECIALLY MESSY SENSORY ACTIVITIES, TAKE YOUR BINS OUTSIDE! THE MESS IS LESS AND CLEAN-UP IS A BREEZE!
• 2 parts glue (white or clear) • 1 part borax • Food coloring (or, once it is made, allow the children to use markers to color) Mix well and keep in a sealed plastic container.
Gak is fun just on its own, but if you are looking to extend the experience, introduce cups, molds, rollers, cookie cutters, glass gems, plastic knives or other playdough tools. Gak bubbles: offer each child a straw. Roll gak into a ball, and insert the straw into the middle of the ball. Blow into the straw slowly and the gak will expand into a bubble.
• 1 cup water • 1.5 - 2 cups cornstarch • Optional: a few drops of food coloring added to the water
Mix and play!
This is MESSY, but seriously fun! Take it outside if you want to keep your tables clean. Serve with recycled fruit cups, spoons, beakers, or just plain. Place in a bin, bowl, or cafeteria tray.
CORNSTARCH CLEANUP THIS CONCOCTION IS A BREEZE TO CLEAN UP - JUST RINSE IN A BUCKET OF WARM WATER. IT WILL BRUSH OFF OF EVERYTHING WHEN IT IS DRY. DON’T DUMP IT DOWN THE DRAIN, THOUGH, OR YOU WILL HAVE AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT “SCENT-SORRY” EXPERIMENT ON YOUR HANDS!
SAND DOUGH (AKA “MOON DOUGH”)
• 2 cups clean sand • 1 cup cornstarch • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar • 1.5 cups hot water
Mix all ingredients together. Serve with sand moulds, spoons, small world toys, cups, etc.
SAND DOUGH MAKES THE PERFECT SANDCASTLES BECAUSE THE CORNSTARCH BINDS THE SAND GRANULES TOGETHER.
PUFFY SNOW PAINTINGS
SENSORY ART INGREDIENTS:
• Equal amounts shaving cream and white school glue
Mix together until smooth. Explore. Use paintbrushes to “paint” a snow picture. The snow paint will have a soft, puffy texture when dry.
• Nativity bin - beans, small nativity set, star ornaments • Fall - pinecones, • Alphabet - rice with hidden letters • Back to school - ornamental apples, letters, small erasers • Fruit • Autumn Fruits (pumpkins, gourds, etc) • Construction - dirt, small trucks, pebbles • Bugs, Worms and Dirt - plastic bugs, ﬁshing lure worms. organic soil • Gardening - small potting containers, gardening tools, soil, dried beans. Add a touch of water daily to dampen soil and the beans will sprout! • Flower shop - small potting containers, silk ﬂowers, dirt • Swamp (water, bugs, soil, leaves)
• Sand • Pebbles • Water • Natural items • Plastic frogs, ﬁsh, or other swamp life • Large sticks, logs, or tree “cookies” • Use your imagination!
Fill a sensory bin, bucket, or water table with the items above. Have students brainstorm other items to put into your “swamp” (or pond, river, ocean, etc). Add new dimensions by connecting two or three sensory bins together with large sticks or logs. Supply magnifying glasses, bug nets, rakes, tongs, and more for investigation. Place books about swamp life nearby. Extend literacy by having the children take “ﬁeld observations” of what they discovered in your swamp!
OUR DINOSAUR DISCOVERY UNIT WAS BY FAR ONE OF OUR FAVORITE UNITS OF THE YEAR. LOADS OF SENSORY EXPERIENCES WERE INCORPORATED. REMEMBER, CHILDREN LEARN THROUGH THEIR SENSES...THE MORE THEY USE, THE MORE THEY LEARN!
• Dinosaur skeletons buried in sand • Brushes for dusting discoveries • Trays for placing “fossils” on • Pieces of “bones” to press into playdough or plasticine • Goggles...for the true scientist • Loads of books about dinosaurs • Magnifying glasses
MORE WAYS TO PLAY
ADDED HEIGHT, DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS, LIDS, TUBES, FUNNELS AND MORE CAN GREATLY INCREASE THE VALUE AND INTEREST TO YOUR SENSORY BINS! INGREDIENTS:
• Cardboard lid with holes • PVC tubes • Cardboard tubes • Boxes • Funnels • Syphons • Inclines and declines • DUCT TAPE • Clear plastic tubes • Clothes lines • Pulleys
Bring on the duct tape!
LARGE MOTOR SENSORY
REMEMBER TO ENGAGE THE WHOLE BODY IN SENSORY EXPERIENCES! INGREDIENTS
• Hammering into pumpkins • Hammering ice • Fishing (big pool or small bins) • Riding a bike over bubble wrap • Running or walking on bubble wrap • Make a texture obstacle course • Outdoor sensory obstacle course
GARDENING PROVIDES A WEALTH OF BENEFITS! WHEN CHILDREN PLANT GARDENS, THEY IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN NATURE, FOLLOW LIFE CYCLES, MAKE PREDICTIONS AND LEARN ABOUT GOD’S WORLD. THEY ALSO GET TO FEEL NATURAL TEXTURES, DIG IN THE DIRT, TASTE NEW FOODS, SMELL THE SCENTS OF THE GARDEN, AND SEE THE INTRICATE DETAILS THAT WILL NEVER BE FOUND IN OBJECTS MADE OF PLASTIC.
GARDENS AND MUD
MUD? YES, MUD!!! MUD IS SQUISHY, SLIMY, THICK AND GOOEY. IT PROVIDES THE TACTILE AND SENSORY EXPERIENCES CHILDREN NEED FOR OPTIMAL BRAIN DEVELOPMENT. AN ADDED BENEFIT? PLAYING IN MUD HAS BEEN LINKED TO INCREASED IMMUNITY!
100% NATURAL: THE MUDDY KITCHEN
NATURAL TEXTURES OFFER AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FEEL, PERFECT FOR SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS.
• Dirt • Pinecones • Shells • Flowers • Small sticks • Stones • Leaves • Water • Mud
Create a play space speciﬁcally for natural items. Collect pinecones, sticks, stones, ﬂowers, and other natural objects. Add pots, pans, measuring spoons, pitchers of water, whisks, and serving spoons. Let the children PLAY! Allowing the children to play with natural objects in a “muddy kitchen” forces them to use their creativity. A pinecone can become a candle, cake, spaghetti or chicken. It can be dinner, lunch, or even a bug! Avoiding prefabricated plastic food increases play value by stretching imaginations! Give it a try!
Add items to outdoor play space. Let the children play!
THINK OUTSIDE THE BIN
NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE IN A BOX...
• Easels • Bottles • Zip-lock bags • Spcie Jars • Garden boxes • Cafeteria Trays • Buckets • Light Tables
CONCOCTIONS, MAGNETS, VOLCANOS AND MORE
Concoctions: Baking Soda and vinegar: Place a few small cups with baking soda & vinegar in a tray. Offer teaspoons for mixing and let the fun begin! Kitchen concoctions: Every child has dreamed of it..being allowed to make their own “recipe.” Offer various kitchen staples and let the children mix until their heart’s content. Magnets: Fill a bin with beans, rice, etc. Add magnetic items and let them explore. Volcanos: Make a huge “volcano” in the sand. Add baking soda in a cup at the top of the volcano. Pour in vinegar and watch it go! Adult help required.
ALLOW SCIENCE TO BE AN INVESTIGATION RATHER THAN A “LESSON.” CHILDREN CAN AND WILL DRAW MEANINGFUL CONCLUSIONS AS THEY HYPOTHESIZE., TEST, AND EXPLORE VARIOUS MEDIUMS. LET THEM EXPERIENCE ACTIVITIES INDEPENDENTLY AND WITH FRIENDS. BE A GUIDE, NOT AN INSTRUCTOR. ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS THAT ENGAGE THEIR MINDS AND PROVOKE THOUGHT. PARAPHRASE THEIR WORDS TO HELP THEM DRAW CONCLUSIONS OF SUBSTANCE.
STAPLES FROM THE GROCERY AISLE
• Colored water • Cornmeal • Rice - colored or plain • Oatmeal • Corn kernels • Flour • Beans • Cornstarch • Cotton Balls • Pasta - all shapes and sized • Cooked pasta • Shaving cream
TIME FOR TAKE-OUT
• Water beads • Moon Sand • Aqua Sand • Floam • Cotton Balls • Thematic items: farm animals, fake ﬂowers • Glow Sticks
Head to the nearest Walmart, Toys R Us, Dollar Store or learning store and pick out some prefabricated items for the bins. Listed above are some of our favorite store-bought concoctions!
Water beads on a light table
Here are a few resources to explore. Each of these sites includes links to more excellent sites, so in providing a few, the resources are actually endless! Exploring the Outdoor Classroom: http://exploringtheoutdoorclassroom.blogspot.com/ *This is Kristin’s Blog! You can download a color copy of this recipe book for your classroom use. Let the Children Play: http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/ Sand & Water Tables: http://tomsensori.blogspot.com/ http://blogs.babble.com/family-style/2012/04/30/8-recipes-for-disaster/ Pinterest: www.pinterest.com Just search preschool science, sensory bins, science ideas and the ideas will ﬂow! Also, check out all books by Mary Ann Kohl, including Mud Works.
IF YOU HAVEN’T CHECKED OUT THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF BLOGS, NOW IS THE TIME! THE RESOURCES AND IDEAS ARE ENDLESS!
REC IPES FOR LEARNING