At Easter, T was sent some little chicks and some table decorations by her Grandparents. One look at them and I thought they’d be perfect for a quick and easy spring sensory bin! In addition to the chicks and decorations, I added:
– some dried lentils,
– a nest that I found in ASDA’s Easter display last year,
– an egg box,
– a hollow egg that used to hold soap, and
– a spoon for scooping.
I love setting things up for her after she’s in bed, because she gets so excited when she comes downstairs in the morning to find something waiting for her to play with! She played with this sensory bin in a number of ways:
T greatly enjoyed the sensory aspect particularly the feel of the smooth, cool lentils and the fluffy chicks! She enjoyed experimenting with how the lentils felt when squeezed, pressed down upon or poured through our fingers. Sensory play benefits children’s development in a number of ways, including developing their fine motor skills, encouraging creativity, and deepening their understanding of scientific concepts.
Scooping and Pouring
I often include spoons from an old set of measuring spoons if T is playing with something that can be scooped or poured. I also try to bring in various different sized containers (in this case, the egg box and the hollow egg) which can be used for scooping into and pouring out of. Scooping and pouring activities continue the work on those all-important fine motor skills and also encourage children to experiment with concepts such as capacity, weight and gravity.
Imaginative Play and Storytelling
For a while, T pretended that the lentils were “baby eggs”, with the chicks taking on the role of the mummies! She used those scooping skills to fill the nest with hundreds of tiny eggs and then all the mummy chicks went to sit on them! I love watching her imagination grow and seeing the language that comes out when she’s engaged in this kind of play.
Later on, she placed a chick inside the hollow egg and then cracked it open into the nest: “CRACK! The chick has hatched out.” She went on to feed the chick with the lentils.
I began placing some of the green egg decorations in the nest, and T quickly joined in, telling me “We’re making a beautiful flower! We’ve got to put all the petals in carefully”. I hadn’t really had an end goal in mind when I’d started to place them in, but we did now!
I love how something as simple as this sensory bin, and which took less than five minutes to plan and set up, inspired so many different ways for T to play!