Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates a young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.
Sensory activities in our classroom included making putty (liquid starch and glue) and exploring water beads.
The children mixed their own bowls of putty, then dumped the stretchy material on the table. Some students fully embraced the activity, while others needed a bit of coaxing to mix the material long enough to achieve the right consistency. They stretched and bounced the putty, wrapped it around their wrists 'bandage' style and rolled balls that quickly flattened like pancakes.
I put out two sensory bins, one with dry water beads and the other with beads that had absorbed water. The children compared the different textures, scooping up the beads and dropping them through their fingers. They loved squeezing the wet beads and requested that I add water to the 'dry' bin.
The children explored symmetry with a painting activity. They monitored their friends' paintings and were delighted with their work.