Things have changed around here. We added another addition to the family. A little boy :) He's 7 months old now and a pure joy!
Ive started to lead a class at a local kids gym called "Explore Our Senses". Each week I bring a new activity that elicits our senses in some way. It's a great opportunity for kids to explore, learn and work together while they play.
I thought it would be a nice for me to share some of what we do during the classes here on the blog and on my Pinterest page.
This week's theme was "Gardening". I made a simple sensory box from items found at our local 99cent store. Spent a total of $8. The bin contained the follow items
- potting soil
- toy truck
- fake grass
- fake flowers
- plastic cup set
- seed packets
- rocks and shells from our local beach
- shovels and rakes
- plastic squirt bottle for watering our plants (awesome hand strengthening work too!)
- ice cube trays for sorting seeds
- big bowel for kids to scoop and pour into
- rubber spiders, worms, lizards and frogs
"Working in the garden and out in nature is one of the easiest and most robust ways to engage our sensory systems. We incorporate all of our sensory receptors when we are out in nature. When children have the opportunity to interact with nature they connect with the Earth and their bodies in a very special way.
Digging and raking in dirt/sand is a great gross motor, fine motor and proprioceptive (sense of muscle and joint movement/pressure/positioning in space) activity. Through this, children work on hand and wrist strengthening as well as tactile discrimination when touching the different textures in soil. Children often find digging, scooping and pouring to be a calming activity and is a great activity to get children engaged and focused.
Today we explored a variety of seeds. Sorting seeds is a great fine motor and visual exercise for children. You can use containers or ice cube trays for children to sort their various objects in. You can plant these seeds in little paper cups, toilet paper rolls cut in half, half egg shell, a hollowed out lemon or orange half and watch it grow. These organic planters are biodegradable so you can transfer them into soil once the seedlings have sprouted. It’s a great learning opportunity for kids.
Pouring water and using a garden hose can also be very therapeutic for kids. The weight of a water can or hose works on building muscle strength and gives little bodies great proprioceptive feedback which can be very calming. Watching and listening to running water can be calming and focusing. The smells elicited from wet soil, plants and flowers can be great fun for kids to explore.
You can make your own gardening sensory bin with items at the dollar store or your local gardening store. You can fill with dirt, sand or beans. Give your kids a rake, shovel, recycled containers and some water-they will have fun for days!