The Little Dig

After one week of school our Yellow Roomer have already been hard at work exploring a wide array of provocations and materials. The central part of Yellow Room’s work time is our sensory table. Whether filled with fragrant soaps, colorful water, crunchy autumn leaves, or smooth sand crystals the sensory table evokes all the senses of our young learners.

Sensory table filled with sand, funnels, shovels, and dinosaur skeletons.
Sensory table filled with sand, funnels, shovels, and dinosaur skeletons.

For infants and toddlers, sensory play is central to growth, joy, and life. Since birth, children incorporate all their senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste into their play, allowing them to explore the world they live in with their full bodies. Infants and toddlers touch everything, put things in their mouths, and have deep interest in sounds, allowing for exploration, discovery, categorization, and understanding.

In the Yellow Room, we facilitate sensory investigation with the use of our sensory table, providing Yellow Roomers with materials that can ignite all the senses. As our little learners continue their growth in language, sensory play can also help them to develop a new and exciting ways to describe the world around them. Playing with different textures, taste, colors, scents, and sounds allows children to not only investigate their different senses but also give them new ways to express what something is. Sensory play often involves the development of fine motor skills by using and coordinating small muscle groups by pouring, pinching, squeezing, and scooping materials.

Here a teacher lifts a shovel full of sand up for Rina to see.
Here a teacher lifts a shovel full of sand up for Rina to see.

 

Rina reaches for the sand and explores the feel of it on her fingers.
Rina reaches for the sand and explores the feel of it on her fingers.

This week, the Yellow Room explored a sensory table filled with dry fine, white sand, funnels, shovels, and minature dinosaur skeletons.  Our youngest learners gathered around the table to see, touch, scoop, and pour the sand. Brushing their hands across the sand, the children felt the small grains of sand move to expose a dinosaur skeleton underneath. Others scooped the sand onto the shovel and poured it out back into the table. The children listened carefully as the sand gently moved off the shovel with a very quiet swish sound and watched the smooth grains collect together to create a small mound. Holding the funnel high, some Yellow Roomers reached out their hands to see the sand rush onto their hands and feel as it slipped through their fingers. Other Yellow Roomers also saw the sand and associated it with their world outside the Yellow Room. Noam saw the sand and said “beach,” remembering a time at the beach digging and playing in the sand.

Penelope scoops up some sand in her shovel. Holding another shovel in her other hand, Penelope pours the sand from one shovel to another watching as it smoothly moves from the shovel.
Penelope scoops up some sand in her shovel. Holding another shovel in her other hand, Penelope pours the sand from one shovel to another watching as it smoothly moves from the shovel.

 

Samanthasmiles as she reaches for the sand that has gathered inside the funnel. She presses down on the small crystals of sand with one finger.
Samanthasmiles as she reaches for the sand that has gathered inside the funnel. She presses down on the small crystals of sand with one finger.

As the weeks unfold, we can’t wait to see the ways our Yellow Roomers interact with different kinds of earth – from sand, to soil, to clay and rock, using all of their senses to make meaning around them.

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