In my previous post, we talked about the importance of sensory play, why sensory bins are great for little toddlers and how to create the different types of sensory bins!
My Sensory Bin: Beans, Rocks and Shovels.
The ideas for this sensory bin came when my little girl was urging me that to bring her to play at the sandpit. So I thought of making a pretend sandpit right at home!
To assemble the bins, I found this little bath basin with separate compartments in the storage room. I put in black-eyed beans and green beans and some rocks. For props, I added in some sandplay play equipment like a shovel and rake. You can introduce a prop one at a time to prolong your child’s interest in the sensory bin.
My preschooler took to the sensory bin straightway as it looked so appealing and inviting! She used the rake to sift through the small beans, and produced the rustling sound of the beans. She then proceeded to feel the beans with her fingers, and I asked her how it felt. She said, “Small, hard, dry, and like sand.” This is one way you can get your preschooler to use language to describe her sensory experience.
Putting the rake aside, she decided to use her fingers to feel the beans in her palm.She cupped a quantity of the beans by scooping them with her open palm, and felt the beans drop through her fingers. She then experimented cupping the beans and closing her palm tight to hold more beans in. She then transferred that cupping action to the rocks. And she exclaimed, ” Mummy, this rock won’t drop from my hand.” She realised smaller objects can fall through her fingers easier than a bigger item. All this while I was just sitting by her side observing her interact with the materials, and she was constantly constructing new knowledge for herself!
The sensory play then progressed to her little ‘project’ of picking out the small green beans from the mix. She used her fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination and pincer grip to pick out and transfer the green beans. This requires her to be very attentive and focused, and even though it was a tedious process, I observed she was immersed in it. She then made the new discovery, ” Mommy, the green bean is smaller than the black dot bean.”
To extend the play, I started introducing new sandpit play equipment. She started using the props to transfer beans from one prop to another. She had to be extra careful not to drop any bean. I also reinforced her Math skill of numerals by asking her to count a small quantity of beans.
Things to Remember:
This must be a supervised activity at all times! Small materials are choking hazards for babies and toddlers!
Allow your child room for creativity and imaginative play when she is using the sensory bins! Extend their play by providing prompts for more elaborate play scripts! Expand their vocabulary by asking questions that encourage to take observation of the materials, how the materials feel to their touch, and prompt them to use descriptive terms to describe the props or whats going on in their play episode.