I want to welcome Jeannie from Planet Teachers Blog to Growing Hands-On Kids today. She is sharing some fun ideas for fall themed sensory play with your kiddos.
Sandbox play is always a big hit with my son and when we have visitors too! Playing in the sand is a great sensory activity. Have you ever tried brushing your hands against the silky smooth sand or watch the little grains of sand fall through a sifter? Running your fingers through the sand is pleasing and calming to the touch. In addition, your sense of sight will be immersed as you watch the tiny grains of the sand spill through the sifter. Therefore, sand play is a stimulating experience for your child's senses. It's no wonder my son and his friends can't get enough of sand play time.
Sandbox Treasures Found Around the House
We have a variety of toys that we enjoy pulling out for sand play. But sometimes, all you need are a couple items around the house that can be hidden beneath the sand. My 4-year-old son loves to run his hands through the sand or use a sifter to find buried treasures. These buried treasures can seem quite ordinary to adults but are most exciting for children to find. In the past, I've buried rocks, shells, paperclips, coins and others items found around the house for my son to collect as he sifts through the sand. Of course, it's important to have a special place for your child to store his treasures. We had some empty baby food jars that made an excellent spot to place his findings.
Sandbox Treasures with a Fall Twist
Since I know my son loves finding buried treasures and also enjoys anything fall or Halloween, I decided to blend this special activity and favorite time of year together. In the spirit of the season, I collected some items to fit the theme. Once you bury the items underneath the sand, add a few fall objects at the top for an invitation to play. I added a pumpkin and a few scarecrows. I've learned as a preschool teacher, setting up an activity to look appealing goes a long way. My son couldn't wait to dig in!
He loved finding the buried surprises and naming what he found. If you plan on burying tiny items such as corn kernels like we did, I would suggest using a sifter to make those tiny items appear more easily. (A sifter for sand play can be found at the Dollar Store). With a fall theme in mind, an acorn tray was the perfect container to hold his special findings.
Items to Include for a Fall Theme:
- Jack-O-Lanterns (orange pom-pom with drawn-on face)
- ghosts (white tissue paper twisted around a white pom-pom)
- plastic fall leaves
- corn kernels
- spiders (4 black pipe cleaners twisted together)
- sunflower seeds
- pipe cleaners (cut up in fall colors)
- googly eyes
Your child will ooze with excitement when an item is uncovered from the sand. As my son explained, “It's like a goody bag,” as he dug out another treasure from the sand. Once he found all the items, he brought them inside and without being prompted, he decided to line up all his findings. The activity was so successful, I plan on setting up another themed treasure hunt in the near future! In case you don't have sand on hand trying using another material to bury the items, such as rice or soil.
This sandbox activity with a fall twist is perfect for a brain break and some added excitement to your little ones day. Not only does this make a great sensory activity, but it's also excellent for exploration and independent play.
What are some of your favorite items to add to your child's sandbox? We're always looking for new ideas to keep sandbox exciting!
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Jeannie is a mother to two children. Her background is in education and she has taught in both elementary and preschool.
You will see her write about arts and crafts, educational ideas, being active, and a variety of other activities she enjoys doing with her children.
Parenting has its challenges. Therefore, she likes to share tips that have been helpful in her experience of teaching and raising her own children in hopes to help others too. Visit her blog Planetteachersblog.com and follow her on Pinterest account at Jeannie@ Planet Teachers Blog for more tips and ideas when it comes to working with children.
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