Favorite summer activity is our weekly water day. Children learn best when they engage their senses. Many of our favorite memories are associated with one or more of our senses. Cognitive skills are sharpened by sensory play, problem-solving, and decision making; simply present a child with a problem and various materials with which to find a solution, and you can almost see the connections their brains are making. Science skills such as cause and effect (what happens when I add water to sand?), gravity (water slides down a funnel, not up), and states of matter (ice melts). Without realizing it, children grow into amateur scientists by making predictions and observations and even develop analytical skills.
Sensory play encourages children to use descriptive and expressive language and to find the meaning behind essentially meaningless words or gibberish. Take, for instance, the word “slimy.” Sure, you can explain what it means
with different adjectives, but until you experience something slimy firsthand, that’s all it will be: words. Children develop prewriting skills as they pour, spoon, grasp, and work on eye-hand coordination tasks while using various materials.
Certain sensory play options, like sensory tables, allow children to be in complete control of their actions and experiences, which boosts their confidence in decision making and inspires their eagerness to learn and experiment.
Sensory play can also teach kids about cooperation and collaboration. As the children work together or side by side, they learn to understand someone else’s viewpoint. The children also have the opportunity to express themselves and become confident in sharing their ideas with others.
Sensory play benefits the development of fine motor skills by encouraging manipulation of materials, such as mixing, measuring, pouring and scooping, while other examples, such as exploring surfaces, lifting, throwing, rolling and water play, help develop gross motor skills. Even recruiting your child to help you build a sensory table for future explorations is exercising motor skills.
Sensory play provides open-ended opportunities where the process is more important than the product; how children use materials is much more important than what they make with them. Prompting your child to think creatively in order to solve problems or engage in make-believe helps them express their creativity and build self-esteem.
As you can see from the photos, the kids really enjoy this activity! Adding bubbles to the adventure makes it even more exciting, or providing wash clothes to wash toys, or watering plants, pouring water down a slide, hanging a water hose from a limb with a slow drip into the water table gives children the sound of water and they can fill cups up over and over….the ideas are endless!!
Teaching 2’s and 3’s is an adventure for them. Take a theme, such as
dolphins, and build around it with a video showing where they live, what
they eat, what sounds they make, etc, computer games, questions about
the dolphin, books, worksheets appropriate for their age. A simple
topic but has so much information and the love of learning is shown
Begin by asking where does water come from? What are some things we do with water? Who lives in the water? And more questions, I am always surprised with toddlers’ answers and how much they know about our themes. So we begin to explore ‘water’.
In our water table we went fishing, had such a blast! We put boats in the water! And made our own big boat with a box.
Keep in mind we are learning through play. It is the way children learn best. Splashing in puddles, watering seeds or making a rainbow are all fun activities to learn about water, but there’s more….
We studied ice by melting it and refreezing it, sink and float, water color a fish and make a fish collage.
When coming for your first time, just look for the blue door!
This is one of our main play areas, full of toys, bright colors, arts and educational materials. We rotate toys frequently to keep all the little ones entertained!
Infants are provided their own age-appropriate toys and play area. This also allows them to learn to crawl and walk safely.
Outdoor Play Area
Weather permitting, we have outdoor play once or twice a day!
But the children are what make Carrie’s House Preschool what it is! Be sure to take a look at the kids playing on the photos tab!
“Little hands and big hearts can do wonderful things.”
Watching children learn as they play is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Helping them along their journey is part of the fun for everyone. Children learn creativity, confidence, problem solving, perseverance, focus, dedication, collaboration and accountability through art.
From the time a child is born, they have learned about this mysterious world by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing. Sensory play also contributes in crucial ways to brain development. Think of it as ‘food for the brain’. Stimulating the senses sends signals to children’s brains that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning.
Children learn through doing. Children learn through sensory like water and paint.
Art is an important part of a child’s world. Not only is art a way for children to express themselves, but it also helps them develop their fine-motor skills. Learning how to mix two colors to create another color is magic to them. As adults, we are product driven and often overlook the small things. Whereas, children are working to develop themselves and so the process is more important than the final product.
What children learn: When art is approached as a process, not a project, the child learns that he/she is limited only by his/her imagination. As everyday objects are transformed into things such as imaginary bugs, sculptures or books, the child discovers that a world of play can be created. Using materials in an art project reinforces and expands on the information a child has already learned in other contexts. Fine-motor skills are developed through art activities. Small-muscle control is needed in order to manipulate clay, cut with scissors, paint with a brush, and color with markers or crayons. Creating these “masterpieces” builds a child’s self-esteem. The finished product, on display on the refrigerator, validates a child’s sense of worth. This provides another opportunity for a child to say “I can do it!”
What children learn: Puzzles develop a child’s abstract thinking ability as they must be able to see a space and visualize what belongs in that space. Fine-motor coordination is developed when fitting the pieces into place. Success can be enjoyed by all children by having puzzles for varied skill levels.
Fine-motor control is developed by playing with a variety of toys such as Legos, Bristle Blocks, Play-Doh, Peg-Boards, large beads to thread, and stacking and nesting materials.
What children learn: These manipulative toys help develop a child’s fine-motor skills, which is a precursor to being able to write. These toys are also often used in “making-believe”.