As you probably already know if you have read my blog for any length of time, I’m a teacher in a local authority school nursery and I love it! As far as jobs go, mine is pretty close to perfect. I have nearly 100 unique and and fantastic children, aged 3, 4 and 5, to work with along with my 6 amazing colleagues. But even the most perfect jobs can present a challenge or two.
It would not be professional for me to go into any details about the children that I work with so all I will say is that, like in any nursery, every child is a unique individual with his or her own needs and as a teacher it is my job to try and support every child in their development, whatever stage they are at. It is with this in mind that I have come to the conclusion that I need to provide a number of activities which are specifically sensory in nature. I am talking about play contexts which go beyond the sort we would normally have on offer in the nursery like in the sand and water trays or in the dough area. The sort of sensory play opportunities that much younger children often engage in and that would benefit some of the children who are not successfully accessing the play resources currently available.
I like to start a new challenge with a bit of research and so I embarked on an internet search to find some guidance on good sensory play. Whilst doing this I came across and absolutely amazing and invaluable resource – The Imagination Tree. If you have not already found and fallen in love with this inspiring and practical blog then I urge you to do so. Anna, who writes the blog, is a primary school teacher like me and shares her brilliant ideas so that early years educators can be motivated and encouraged to be as creative as they can in educating the very young. Here is the link to the blog:
It was here that I found a fantasic section on sensory play and found myself passing literally hours reading all the brilliant ideas that this lady has had. She inspired me to think specifically about the children I work with and to use the ‘sensory box’ ideas to create something which would meet the needs of the individuals in my class. And here is where I share my own work with you. My first attempt at a sensory play box!
The child I specifically had in mind had shown a fascination with hiding things, putting objects inside things and then ‘discovering’ them again. Given that it is Easter time, I came across these hollow eggs in Poundland and decided that they would be brilliant for the purpose of hiding little trinkets. The green shredded plastic came from poundland too and was perfect for hiding all the eggs inside. For all the little ‘treasures’ hidden inside I just raided the nursery resources and used all sorts of interesting things like shells, gems, buttons and counting peopel. Basically anything that would fit inside!
I shared this box with the child I planned it for and he loved it! It has worked really well and has stopped him from hiding the other nursery resources in places we couldn’t find them! He knows now that he will have special time with me near the end of the session to play with the box and explore everything inside. We are able to leave it the way he wants without having to move the objects back to where they came from whereas before this he would hide things that the other children wanted to play with and would then get very upset when they were moved. I am so delighted with this box that I indend to make more as and when they are needed by the children.
Do you have any good resources you use for sensory play? Have you found anything that has worked so well that you just want to shout all about it? Leave me a comment and let me know!