Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin

I have been reading about sensory bins for awhile now.  Homeschooling Moms who have it MUCH more together than I, take many different items and put them in a box to let their children explore.  I am not entirely sure if it is a Montessori thing  or a Charlotte Mason thing, but I know it is great for somebody with sensory issues. 

You can put just about anything into your bin, and are only limited by your imagination and funds.  :)  Some people put beans, or things to make them smell good in theirs. Since this is our first attempt, I decided that we were going to keep it pretty mild.  Plus, since Christopher doesn't eat by mouth I was not too keen on putting smell-good spices into the bin that he has never been exposed too.  We try to keep our anaphylactic reactions to a minimum. 

First, we put in a couple of bags of silk autumn leaves that we acquired at places like Michael's, Dollar Tree, and Wal-Mart. These had lots of neat shapes and bright colors to identify including yellow, orange, red, and purple.

Next we added some decidedly fake looking gourds and pumpkins that I bought from the Dollar Tree.  We will keep an eye out for more realistic looking ones for next year. These are also Styrofoam, so if there was a meltdown there would be minimal damage if they went flying!

We next added a package of various sized, fall colored pom poms.  The small ones are some of the smallest pom-poms I have ever seen!  Again, another opportunity for color recognition with green, brown, tan/gold, and burgundy.  Also an introduction to size with large, medium, and small.  Heavy vs. light, and also hard vs. soft.

Last but not least, we included his Pilgrim, Native American, and pumpkin figures from this Little People Thanksgiving Set.  We also put in a couple of turkey figures from his Little People farm set.  This kid LOVES his Little People!  (If your little one loves the Little People too, you can go to the website and watch movies, print off coloring pages, play games, listen to stories, etc.)

So when we put it all together, it looked like this:

Tonight was the first time Christopher was given the bin.  I was concerned that he would not put his hands in it.  He does have trouble with reaching out to touch things - not sure if it is a sensory issue or a motor planning issue. Probably a combination of both. Truth be told, his Dad has the same issue - that is another post.  I was pleasantly surprised that once I put his hands into the bin, he explored on his own. 

He is very much into "putting things in" or "putting things on (a shelf)".  It was interesting that he did not take the items out and try to put them over the side of the bin.  I was also surprised that he was able to "play" in the bin and look at what he was doing at the same time.  Most of the time when introduced to something new, he can either listen or look.  He cannot do both at the same time until he is familiar with the object, television show, etc.  It is also very hard for him to look and feel at the same time.  He did both with this bin, although I do think the pom-poms are maybe too soft.  Either he didn't like them and ignored them or the texture was so soft that they did not give enough feedback for him to tell he had them in his hands.

For the next couple of days, I am just going to leave it out next to the toys that he plays with regularly.  I'll sit him up and let him explore it in a more structured way at least a couple of times a day.  I will probably be adding things as we go through the month.  We have LOTS of Thanksgiving themed materials this month.  I believe the sensory bin will be getting a work out.  Hopefully, he still looks like this at the end of the month!

Now if I could just get a picture that doesn't make him look like I have drugged him for the shot!  Ha!Ha!

Keep an eye out for our next post!  ~

Happy Fall!


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Blogger Zoey's mom said...

Great idea Steph!

You know,I always am taken aback in a weird way,when I see children using BOTH their hands!Especially doing things like this or flipping through a book.For Zoey,not having that left little hand hinders her.Oh well,one day she'll become the one handed master of all skills.As least that is what I keep telling myself!!

Have a great weekend!

November 5, 2010 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Forest Rose said...

He sure is having fun in that bin:)

Have a blessed Christmas!

Forest Rose

December 3, 2010 at 8:13 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

It is especially good for DS kids because they are such visual/sensory learners. We have alot of things like that at Ella's school

December 17, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

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