Create a beautiful, scented and textured sensory basket themed around strawberries, for some open-ended play and exploration for preschoolers.
Here is a beautiful idea from guest writer Stephanie from the stunning blog,Twodaloo. I will let her introduce herself and be sure to follow the links to all her social media connections below!
Hello, lovelies! I’m Stephanie from Twodaloo, and I am head-over-heels to be sharing today at The Imagination Tree! I am a speech-language pathologist who is currently staying at home with my 2.5 year old twins to play, learn, and make fun things. I love to write about the activities we do together and how they help with early language development. One type of play we engage in quite often is sensory play, and now that they are a bit older I like to add an element of pretend play to their sensory invitations. Both sensory play and pretend play are absolutely amazing for early language stimulation, and they are just plain fun as well!
When I design a pretend play invitation, I always center it around the twins’ current interests. That way they can make connections between their play and real life experiences. One thing they LOVE to do these days is check our strawberry pot for juicy berries, but since it’s super hot here in Texas right now, we aren’t getting much new growth! Based on this observation, I thought it would be fun to design a “berry picking basket” for the twins to find one afternoon after nap.
First, I set about making some “plants.”
They were really easy to make- I just cut leaves from green felt using pinking shears, pinched them at the bottom, and used my hot glue gun to attach them in groups of three at the ends of some green pipe cleaners.
They ended up looking surprisingly realistic!
After that, I “planted” them in the bottom of a shallow basket by taping them down with artist’s tape (or painter’s tape).
After the strawberry plants were all secured, I filled in the basket with some strawberry-scented barley to serve as a sensory medium for scooping, digging, filling, and pouring. To make the scented barley, I used the same method that I used here to create our lemonade scented sensory rice, but I substituted strawberry-flavored Kool-aid. I also added a few drops of red liquid watercolors to make the color more vibrant.
To complete the invitation, I added some beautiful seed-bead strawberries (see how I made them here) for the twins to find and collect in their berry baskets, but any pretend strawberries will do! I also set out some vintage miniature silver pitchers, gelatin molds, and a tiny scoop for dumping, filling, and pouring.
As you can see, a good time was had by all.
Especially my little Sydney!
Interested in exactly how sensory play is beneficial for early language development? Check out my post Building Language with Sensory Play for helpful information, tips and tricks! Still not convinced? Try our most popular sensory play post, Sensory Play, Is This Really Necessary? to see what the research says about the benefits of sensory play in early childhood.
Thank you SO much, Anna, for having me over today! I hope you all enjoyed a peek into what Twodaloo is all about. If you’d like to follow along with us, you can find us on Facebook, G+, Pinterest, or Subscribe to Twodaloo by Email.