Garden Sensory Play

It is so lovely that Spring is finally here! I love the beautiful sunshine we’ve been having and have been admiring the beautiful cherry blossoms coming out down our road. We’ve been doing a few jobs in the garden to get it ready for summer and it’s lovely to be spending more time outside again. I would say it’s one of my favourite times of year, but anyone who knows me well knows that I say that every time the season changes!

I wanted to do a spring themed activity for T, but was trying to come up with something a bit different to the Spring Sensory Bin that I did last year. I wanted to include a miniature rake and shovel set which a friend passed on to me, which I knew would be great for some fun fine motor play!

I also picked up a miniature watering can and some seed pots from Flying Tiger…I can never resist a little browse if I’m passing! I put them in a tray along with some lentils and some flower shaped sequins. Since T has been increasingly interested in letters recently, I decided to use her wooden letters to add a few simple labels, and see if she had any interest.

I knew T would enjoy the tray, but I had completely underestimated quite how much learning was about to take place! I loved just sitting back and observing her for a few minutes.

She began by using the tools to scoop the lentils (“seeds”) in to the pots and spent several minutes filling them and pouring lentils between the pots and the watering can. She also poured lentils over the windmill and watched how they made it spin, commenting “these are like hailstones!”

As she was playing, she started to use words related to their capacity, discussing how full they were and which pot held more. She then started comparing the size of the pot and the watering can, saying that the watering can was bigger because it was taller. We discussed how if she was right, then the watering can would be able to hold more lentils, and she checked this by filling up one of the pots and pouring it into the watering can. She later came back to this and counted how many shovels of seeds each container would hold.

She then moved on to talking about weight, and asked if she could get her balance scales out. She enjoyed using the pots to pour lentils in to the scales and talked about which side was heavier and which was lighter.

Of course A wanted to get involved, and spent quite a while banging his hands on the tray and enjoying the sensation of the lentils in his fingers! T noticed that when A banged his hand in the tray, it made all the lentils jump! This opened up the conversation for us to talk a little about vibration.

Interestingly, she didn’t actually take any notice of the words at all. I was thinking about this afterwards (as she is quite often interested in writing and knowing what things say at the moment) and thought perhaps it was just that the other things available were more interesting. I gave the tray a bit of a tidy up and left it out again the following day in case the words sparked any interest second time around. However, this time she was mostly interested in finding hidden pirate treasure (sequins) at the bottom of the pots!

What she is learning

Fine motor skills: scooping and pouring, filling and emptying containers
Maths: using language related to weight and capacity; comparing and ordering items by weight and capacity; counting
Science: observing the lentils jumping; seeing how the lentils made the windmill spin
Creativity: imaginative play

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