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This is a guest post from Becky Marie of For This Season. Becky has three little boys who do school at home together. Bebop is 6 years old, Magoo is 3 years old and Doodad is 16 months.
I’ve been a reader of Golden Reflections Blog for several months and in that time I have collected a long list of ideas to use with my boys. When Heather posted the straight lines sensory bin as a pre-writing activity a few weeks ago, I immediately knew it would be perfect for my boys. Sensory bins can often be a challenge in our house because of the wide age range of my boys and I need to avoid small objects as much as possible. To create our bin, I gathered all the straight lines I could find from our k’nex, trio blocks, and a few craft sticks. During play, the boys added various containers.
Our open play toys are kept on low shelves under the window. I usually only put out baby safe toys, so this is the first sensory bin to have a home on the shelf. In the picture above, it is in the middle of the top shelf. All three boys gravitate to that shelf when they first go in our school room each day. When things get quiet, I almost always find Doodad sitting quietly exploring the tubs. The straight lines bin holds his attention much longer than any other activity we currently have available.
Doodad immediately grabbed an empty bottle and started filling it with k’nex sticks. He likes to fill up the bottle and dump it over and over. This takes quite a bit of concentration and fine motor coordination. At one point the big boys were playing with our trio blocks and Doodad stole a few for himself. He enjoyed putting the sticks in the holes. I will be making another bin in a few weeks that combines these toys more. I did not direct Doodad to do anything other than play. He did join Magoo a few times but was not at all interested in trying to sort the different colors or lengths, which is pretty age appropriate.
Magoo is my kid that sticks things in his mouth, so I really have to watch him the most with our sensory bins. He did put everything in his mouth, but I didn’t worry about small parts with this bin. When I gave him free play, Magoo liked to fill and dump bottles just like his little brother. He also spontaneously sorted the rods by color. After a bit of direction, he also sorted by length. We talked a lot about big, middle, and small. Magoo gets big and small but doesn’t always get middle.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Bebop. Lately he has not been interested at all in our sensory bins, mostly because they consist primarily of baby toys. The first time he was alone with this bin, he started building shapes. In the above picture he made the triforce from Zelda. Without any prompting from me, he explained the triangle shape to his brothers and made a game of finding all the triangles. I was very pleased to see how much he enjoyed this bin.
Heather’s original post on using a straight line bin included suggestions for creating uppercase letters with the lines. As we work our way through the alphabet this year, I will use this bin with Magoo to create letters. I will also challenge Bebop to make more complex shapes. I see this bin staying in our school room for several more weeks! Join us on instagram or my blog to see all the ways we use this bin.
Thank you Becky for sharing a wonderful post with us today! Be sure to check Becky out on her blog, For This Season for more great Montessori and preschool ideas!
This activity is also part of my ebook, Basic Shapes for Beginners!