Saturday, May 30, 2015

Painting with Tree Branches

We tried painting with tree branches again. This time we used gouache from IKEA.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Insects in Leaves and Grass Sensory Bin

We explored insects that live in the ground, insects that collect nectar and insects that live near water. The last category that I could think of is insects that live in leaves and grass: caterpillars, crickets, praying mantises.

I wrapped little caterpillars in green yarn to imitate a cocoon. My daughter really enjoyed unwrapping them. I told her names of trees from which I collected leaves and pointed out that all leaves are of different size and shape.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Insects on Flowers Sensory Bin

I already made a generic insects sensory bin and a sensory bin with insects in soil. Today we played with insects on flowers. I was specifically interested in everything in regards to nectar and honey making. I made a honeycomb out of construction paper. Since our honeycomb is made of paper, I couldn't put honey right in it, so I poured a little bit on a plate and put it next to the bin.

Besides learning about the process of collecting nectar and storing it in a honeycomb, you can talk about the structure of a flower (stem, petals) as well as insects’ structure (wings, legs). 

Insects in Soil Gelatin Sensory Bin

After I introduced all insects in a toy set to my daughter, I decided to focus on insects in/on the soil. You can see ants, worms and a centipede here. I picked jello as an ingredient because I wanted the “soil” to be transparent so that she could see everyone crawling inside. Ant nest is made of rice, beans and flower stem. I colored rice by using a few drops of red and green food coloring. To make jello I mixed gelatin with water and warmed it up until it completely dissolved. I poured it in a large glass container, added an ant and a few worms to it and put it in the fridge for the night.

We played with ants, built an ant nest and hid their eggs in there. While you play, you can sing a song "The Ants Go Marching..."

Insects Sensory Bin

I have already done an insects sensory bin before but it was in winter when I did not really have an opportunity to put real leaves in the bin.

I found the idea to use moss and stones in the bin here. I added different kinds of leaves, a tree branch, pine cones, acorn, chestnuts, flowers and black beans instead of soil. I made a spider web out of thin yarn.  

I don’t remember the last time when we spent so much time playing with the sensory bin. It might be because my daughter saw many of the insects for the first time, and she seemed really interested.

You can do a lot of games with insects introducing each of them while playing. First, a fly got stuck in a spider web and other insects saved it. Then we ripped leaves into small pieces so that it was easier for the caterpillar to eat them. A bee collected nectar and we smelled the flowers. Then a cricket jumped up really high (it was the funniest part). Also, ants have built a house for all insects using rocks as walls and leaves as a roof. We had a really great time playing with this sensory bin.

I introduced a lot of new insects to my daughter. I will make a few other sensory bins with insects to study them closer. I will focus on their habitats: insects in soil (ants, inchworms, larva, centipedes), insects on flowers (butterflies, bees, ladybugs), insects in water (dragonflies, mosquitoes) and insect in leaves (caterpillars, crickets, praying mantis).

Continue this theme by reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and "Five Little Ladybugs" by Melanie Gerth.

Treasure Island Sensory Bin

I got a few shades of blue yarn as a gift and it made me think that I should do ocean waves with it. We played with a pirate ship that got in a storm and treasure on the island. I wanted to give my daughter an opportunity to touch different textures in the bin: soft yarn, smooth glass marbles, seashells and sparkly paper coins.

Tropical Beach Gelatin Sensory Bin

Here is a tropical beach somewhere in Riviera Maya. Gelatin was a new ingredient for us and I am very happy I tried it. I mixed gelatin with water and heat it a bit until it completely dissolved. I poured it in a large container, added toy fish and put it in a fridge for the night. The nest morning I made a beach out of yellow colored beans and split peas and added more fish and seashells. I made beach towels and umbrellas out of construction paper.

At first, my daughter poked the jello with her finger but did not really want to touch it. She did not like that it was cold right out of the fridge, but as it warmed up to be of room temperature, she started grabbing fish and Lego people and playing with them. I think she enjoyed the jello overall.

Tropical Island Sensory Bin

Another animal habitat is a tropical island. I used semolina instead of sand, colored navy beans instead of grass and blue tissue paper instead of water. If you have a pirate ship, it would work great with this theme. You can also bury the treasure on the island.

My other sensory bins with animal habitats:

African Swamp Sensory Bin

Forest Sensory Bin

African Swamp Sensory Bin

Indian and Indonesian Jungle Sensory Bin

Farm Sensory Bin

Coral Reef Sensory Bin

Frog Pond Sensory Bin

Arctic Sensory Bin

Desert Sensory Bin

Ocean Life Sensory Bin

African Savannah Sensory Bin