28 Mar
2017

The Joys of Sensory Play… or Why Letting Your Child Make a Mess is OK!

spaghettiAt Spanish Schoolhouse our curriculum is rich with sensory learning activities.  Hands-on, messy sensory play is an awesome way for little ones to learn!  Here’s why the clean-up is worth the effort, both at school and at home:

  • Exploring textures, smells, colors, and sounds helps children understand the world around them. 
  • Sensory play develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination with activities like pinching, lacing, pouring, and gripping.  These build the groundwork for future skills like handwriting, zipping and buttoning. 
  • Using multiple senses helps children learn new ways to describe things (such as slippery, rough, slimy, icy, or bitter) and expands their vocabulary and knowledge.
  • Creative play builds self-confidence and allows children to express themselves. It develops “outside the box” thinking.  
  • Experimentation with cause and effect encourages scientific curiosity and teaches natural outcomes.
  • FUN!!!  Sensory play brings joy to a child’s face, and parents can enjoy it just as much!

One sensory learning activity we often use in Science Week demonstrates how whales’ and polar bears’ blubber insulates them from freezing temperatures.  It’s an easy and fun project to do at home with your child.  If you’d like to try it, here is the method and here are some helpful vocabulary words you can use to incorporate Spanish:   el frío (cold), la manteca (lard), el oso polar (polar bear), la ballena (whale), la bolsa de plástico (plastic bag).

There are countless creative ideas online for messy play.  Below are a few ideas we borrowed from www.TheImaginationTree.com.  Just click on the link!  Again, we’ve added a few Spanish translations to add a language layer to the learning! 

Rainbow Alphabet Spaghetti                                                     

Vocabulary – los espaguetis (spaghetti) or los fideos (noodles), las letras (letters), el arco iris (rainbow)

Ask your child to describe colors as you tint the pasta – rojo (red), azul (blue), verde (green), amarillo (yellow), rosado (pink)

“Vamos a buscar las letras!” (“Let’s look for letters!”)

Moldable Sand

Vocabulary – la harina (flour), aceite para bebés (baby oil)

“Reoge la arena. Exprímela.”  (“Scoop the sand.  Squeeze it.”) 

Mini Snowy Playground

Vocabulary – la nieve (snow), el hielo (ice), área de recreo or campo de juegos (playground), espuma de afeitar (shaving foam), papel de aluminio (aluminum foil)

“Vamos a patinar sobre el hielo.” (“Let’s go ice skating!”)

Marbled Oobleck

Vocabulary – la harina de maíz (cornstarch), el agua (water), los colores (the colors), mojado (wet), frío (cold), slimy/slippery

“Mezcla los colores. Revuelve como remolino. ¿Cómo se siente?”   “Mix the colors.  Swirl it!  How does it feel?” 

We hope we have inspired you and your child to roll your sleeves up, get messy, and enjoy the learning experience!

Soap-fluff-sensory-play

sensory-play-for-babies-6bottles-beans-buttons-muffins-067

So, what do you think?