At Joshua Early Childhood Center, there is meaning to everything we do. Whether it be what's hanging on classroom walls, to toys in the classroom, even songs sung during transition time; there is purpose to every single part of the day. One particular classroom feature that has more meaning than one may first think is the sensory bin. Not only does the sensory bin capture our senses through touch and site (sometimes smell, too!), but there is also an abundance of learning that can occur when children are all gathered around it.
Children's vocabulary and language can be expanded by exposing them to items and sensations occurring at the sensory table. Number concepts can be explored by having them count how many measuring cups of water are needed to fill a bucket. Physical science can be exposed by providing materials like ramps, or funnels that they can explore with. The learning opportunities are endless!
Creative Curriculum, which is an evidence-based curriculum that guides our planning and teaching here at JECC, tells families what they can do at home to promote the sensory bin experience and learning that comes with it!
"If your child particularly enjoys playing with water and sand, you may want to set up some play areas for these activities at home. Water play can be set up at the bathroom or kitchen sink. Lay a large towel on the floor, and, if the sink is too high for the child, provide a stool or stepladder. Outdoors, you can use a small wading pool, tub, or old baby bathtub. Give your child a baster, plastic measuring spoons and cups, a funnel, and plastic or rubber animals and boats. For a novel experience, add soap flakes or food coloring to the water.
If a sandbox is not available outdoors, you might use a small dishpan as a miniature sandbox. All you need is a few inches of fine white sand. Collect small items such as shells, rubber animals, a small rake, coffee scoops, measuring cups and spoons, and funnels and offer them to your child, a few at a time. The opportunity to play with sand and water on a regular basis helps children develop their minds and bodies in relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable ways."
At Joshua Early Childhood Center, we like to take our sensory bins to the next level on creativity! Come visit our school and check them out yourself!
Dodge, D. T., Colker, L. J., & Heroman, C. (2010). The Creative Curriculum (Vol. 2, Interest Areas). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies.
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