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Showing posts from December, 2019

Sensory Bins

Do you incorporate sensory play into your programming? I understand why people don't - it can seem daunting to figure out what materials to use, and I know people worry about the mess. But I've been tinkering around with sensory play since 2012, and I'm going to share my tips on how to make it meaningful, engaging, and best of all - EASY!  First up - the container! When I first started in kindergarten I used the large sand/water table that was in the room, and I only filled it with (you guessed it!) sand or water. Now, I do still use the large table, but typically I have wheeled it outside or used it with larger scale activities. What I have found works for me now is a clear storage bin (I buy the 32 litre size) with a lid that latches. There are a few reasons I like to use these bins. First of all , they are large enough for the kids to really get in there and have a good time with the materials, but they are small enough that typically only 2 - 3 kids can play together

Christmas Sensory Play

If you have checked out my Instagram feed at all (@fdk_learnandplay), you'll see that I'm a huge fan of using sensory bins in the classroom. I find them to be so engaging for young learners, and a great entry point for all kids to join play. I also like to use them often for story retelling opportunities. I am planning to a post to really delve into my thoughts on sensory bins, as well as how I set them up in the classroom, but for now I thought I would highlight some Christmas bins that I have done. Tis the season, right? I absolutely love using my collection of gingerbread themed books in the classroom, but my favourite one for retelling in kindergarten is the classic "Gingerbread Man" story.  For this bin I used white rice as a base, and added in some cinnamon and real sprinkles to give it that "Christmas baking" feel. I added some authentic baking tools - a pan, rolling pin and gingerbread cookie cutter. Next, I added in elements from the story suc

Winter STEM: Ice Lanterns

I love a good STEM activity, and today's was one of my favourites! It is perfect for the winter holidays, or to just brighten up a grey winter day. You will need a few supplies: 2 sizes of plastic cups, water, food colouring, small pebbles or clothes pins, battery operated tea lights or regular tea light candles, and whatever decorative elements you have on hand (we used small pom poms, glitter, pipe cleaners and small craft gems).  Our finished ice lanterns Step 1: You will need to make sure that one of your cups can fit inside the other, because this is what will end up creating your lantern shape. Pour some water into the larger cup - the amount of water depends on how tall you want your lantern to be. Remember that when you place the other cup inside and weigh it down, the amount of water inside the larger cup will become displaced and rise. We wanted taller lanterns, so we poured a fair amount on water in our larger cups.  Step 2: This is where you will need the craft