As I strolled through a pound shop the other day selecting a variety of random products. I think only someone working in the early years sector would of not thought I was barking mad!
I had sponges, bath mats, flannels, their version of crocs and several other items. As I picked them I was feeling them first… Honestly I looked deranged!
But pound shops are fantastic if you need stuff for sensory play or a sensory project.
We have a sensory room at nursery, and decided at the beginning of term that we should have a theme for it. We decided on under the sea! The children started to create loads of fish.. They added paint, glue, glitter and sequins- which sparkle when reflecting off the lights.
They also made a giant octopus, the bath mats that I brought were cut up and poppers facing outwards were stuck to the octopuses tenticles.
They also made some crabs using paper plates, lolly pop sticks and different orange paper and tissue paper. They looked at photos of crabs and created their own interpretation of them.
We found a large bit of blue netted material which we hung from the ceiling, the crabs and some seaweed and starfish they made were hung from it.
Using a glue gun the ladies stuck all the rest of the items i’d got from the pound shop on to the front and side of an old unused unit. I’d also found some pebbles in a charity shop, along with some shells they glued them to the top of the unit. The children then decorated 3 boxes, and helped to cut a hole out of the front of each. They hung tissue paper from the top to cover the hole and have put different sensory items in each, and will change them around!
They then thought about how they could make waves! I’d seen some cd walls on Pinterest. We found a stack of old CDs in the storeroom and the children love salad spinning painting! So they popped a cd at the bottom of the salad spinner and then they chose which blue or green paints they wanted to use. They then added some paint, popped on the lid of the salad spinner and spun away! The end result is amazing. The CDs are stuck to the wall in a wave effect and they sparkle and reflect light.
We do these projects over a few weeks, the children work together to create the large items and in small groups or indepently to create the smaller items. Through all the activities, they are encouraged to describe the patterns they are making, the colours they are using. To notice the features of any animals they look at or create. They talk to their friends and notice what they are doing. They take turns and explore textures.
When everything was completed and all in the sensory room, I’ve got to admit I was so proud of the children and my team for creating a space that is so thought provoking and inspiring.
The children LOVE it. They use torches to shine lights on the sparkly fish and waves. They play imaginatively pretending to be on an under the sea adventure! They explore the vast array of sensory experiences and guess and describe what they are seeing and feeling!
For sensory projects at home, I don’t expect that you’ll have the room or the time to create a whole sensory room but you could certainly break up the activities.
- Buy a salad spinner, add old CDs to the bottom and then allow to dry and hang them in the garden or in front of windows at home. They will look beautiful and promote discussions. You can also add card to the bottom of a salad spinner, the patterns created are just as effective.
- Visit an aquarium, or library, or go on the Internet and look up different underwater animals. Then create your own at home!
- Raid a pound shop for sensory items, it doesn’t have to be and underwater theme. Get shower scrunchies, different sponges, brushes- add to a basket for your children to explore.
- Make underwater sensory bottles- search on Pinterest, but basically water, blue food colouring and some shells to a clear plastic bottle. Superglue the lid on and away they go!
Sensory play is awesome.. It leads to so much communication, exploration and discovery! Have fun!!