"If it hasn't been in the hand, it can't be in the brain." Bev Bos
Here are some ideas to accomplish just that. Most of these things can be used multiple ways- in and out of sensory bins, at home and in schools.
#1: Mixed dried beans
Last week we had beans in the sensory bin (actually there were peas and corn as well). This isn't really anything special, but it it really pretty and promotes sorting. They were specifically fascinated by picking out the huge white lima beans.
The mix of kidney beans, pinto beans, white lima beans, black beans, black eyed peas, split peas, and left over indian corn kernels make up this mix, but really any mixture of beans/ etc will do. Below you can see there were spoons scoops and cups in the sensory bin but also sometimes ice trays or muffin tins can encourage sorting as well.
#2: Goop (also known as "Cloud Dough")
Last week we also made what my kids call "goop"- a concoction borrowed from Lisa Murphy, the Ooey Gooey Lady. This mixture is made up of only two ingredients flour and baby oil- so you have double sensory smell and touch. (I love the smell of baby oil).
I let them help make the goop, they decided to have just slightly more runny than doughy.
They also wanted to add a little blue.
After a while they asked if we could have more goop in the sensory bin, so we made more- this time the "goop" was much more like dough.
#3: Moon Sand
Recently, a parent donated four small bags of Moon Sand with "Moon Sand toys" to our classroom. While, yes, you can make really cool sensory things on your own or use just wet sand, Moon Sand is pretty cool, and versatile. For anyone unfamiliar with it, it holds shape like wet sand and never dries out. This Moon Sand came with some houses, a swing, some cars, and some people molds. They didn't care much about the swing or houses, but they (of course) loved the car, and also really loved the people molds.
I put it out on box tops, (that we seem to have an abundance of), for easy set up and clean up. They seem to enjoy it as a quiet activity. This is also really great for any children that require sensory input. If he or she starts losing control I can just pop the top on the table and ask the child if he or she would like to play with Moon Sand (the answer is always yes). For an "on the go" option, I can put it in a ziplock and stick it in my apron pocket, then when I need it I just hand the bag to the child and let him or her squeeze the bag. It works for sensory input or as a transition activity.
#4: Water, ice, snow
See entry here about water play. There is really no end to what they can do playing with water in any form.
#5: Colored Noodles, Scented Rice
I took full advantage of the snow day today to create some new things for collages, mosaics, and our sensory bin.
The scented rice idea came from this entry at teachpreschool.org. I modified it slightly, however. In a bowl I mixed 2 packets of Koolaid with 3 teaspoons of boiling water and a teaspoon and a half of rubbing alcohol, until completely dissolved. Next I put this liquid into a ziplock bag containing six cups of dry rice. I mixed the rice and liquid completely. Then I laid it out for four hours on wax paper before putting it in an air tight container.
For the pasta I started with the instructions found here, but, again, modified it. I used only a teaspoon of food coloring, and three teaspoons of rubbing alcohol, then added it to a ziplock bag containing 3 cups of pasta. The instructions at the website above suggest that there should be more food coloring and less pasta, but as you can see below the pasta is quite dark and while they will lighten a bit when they completely dry, it will not be a lot.
|Purple mini rotinelle (wheels)|
|Green mini farfalle (bow ties)|
|mini orecchiette (shells)|
Hot pink mini radiatori (nuggets)
Have fun and enjoy; I know we will.