This week I took a much more non-directive approach to Tot School Tuesday and brought out the sensory bin. One of Logan’s favorite books, and mine too, is Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and I themed the sensory bin after it. My animal obsessed child already had a lot of the characters in the book and what he didn’t have I found in the clearance section of Michaels for 50 cents (score!). I always throw in lots of scoops and little containers and let his imagination go wild.
I think I first introduced Logan to a sensory bin when he was around 1 and it was a big fun mess. I recommend starting with a smaller tub and working your way up. Many people who are interested in sensory bins always ask me about the mess. Honestly, expect a mess and just embrace it (at first anyway). Remember, this is supposed to be a fun learning activity. Stressing over a mess is not fun for anyone involved. You can always place the bin outside so the mess won’t matter. Once your child has more experience with a sensory bin, he’ll eventually catch on that the corn (or whatever you use) stays in the tub.
Something that has helped to minimize the mess for us is placing a cheap rug underneath the bin when it’s indoors. I gently remind Logan that the corn (or beans or rice or whatever) stayed inside the tub and that he stayed on the mat while playing (as to not track corn or beans or rice or whatever all over the house). He’s typically so engrossed in play that he rarely strays off the mat anyway. Now that he’s had a lot of experience with sensory bins (and is in his “terrific” twos), accidental spills are okay but intentional dumping means we put the bin away and play with something else. He gets one warning and I’ve never had to actually put the bin away. He’s had a lot of practice with sensory bins, so the mess is usually a non-issue for us aside from a few stray kernels.
Kids can learn so much through non-directive sensory play. Their cognitive skills, motor skills, language skills, creativity and more are all working on overdrive. During this Little Blue Truck sensory activity, we first read the book together and then I opened the bin and let him explore. He went to work on recreating the story and it was amazing to see his level of comprehension through play. Then, he decided to match the toys with the pictures in the book, before scooping corn in the little containers to feed his animals. I’m always amazed at how much is revealed through his play.
Link up your Tot School Tuesday activities here! Tot School Tuesday is all about teaching your child something in a fun and playful way. Blog along with me every Tuesday and link up your ideas here. They can be original ideas or something you saw online (just make sure to give credit to the person who came up with the idea).
“Tot School Tuesday” rules:
- Tot School related blog post links only please. Links to shops, giveaways and products will be deleted.
- Link directly to your Tot School post, not just your blog.
- Please link to See Vanessa Craft somewhere on your post or grab a “Tot School Tuesday” button and link it back to www.seevanessacraft.com.