Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet

Leave a comment



Above is the simple bubble table I set up for the children outside for the first week of school. There is something amazing about the sensory table. Sensory play brings children together, promotes community, evokes communication and language, and allows for open ended play. Open ended play means there isn’t a goal at the end of the activity. For example a toy with buttons or flashing lights may only serve one or two purposes in play. Once the child has explored those purposes they may move on to other items. The bubble table doesn’t have one specfic goal or outcome. It is meant to be explored. This allows for long, extended play as well as returning to the table over the course of many days to revisit the materials and ideas there. I usually keep my sensory tables the same over the course of two weeks and sometimes longer depending on the interest of the class. We will continue to explore the bubbles this week!

You can see D pouring just the bubbly part of the water onto his hand in the photo above. Pouring is a life skill that takes children lots and lots of time to practice and master (and it is fun too!)

B is using the turkey baster to fill up a measuring cup that is floating around in the table.

M is using the egg beaters to move the water and create more bubbles. The egg beaters also serve as a valuable fine motor tool. She has to hold it up with one hand, and spin it with the other hand working her fine motor skills and her hand/eye coordination.

B is now trying the egg beater, and J is working out how to use and squeeze the turkey baster. This was a new skill for her and we will keep on practicing it!

Just playing around the sensory table the children spent time exploring independently, discussing the water and bubbles, and negotiating the materials to share with each other!

We will probably continue to explore water in some way this upcoming week too! We may add some ice cubes or other new elements to the water to explore!

1 Comment

More Spielgaben Exploration


This past month we pulled out our Spielgaben math manipulatives and I took the long dress up mirror off of the wall and placed it on the floor for some open ended exploration.  Instead of offering the entire tray of shapes, I sorted the shapes ahead of time into three bowls: squares, triangles and diamonds, and circles.  These loose parts lend themselves to exploration and creativity so easily!



D spent such a long time working with the materials on the mirror.  First he organized all of the circles at one end of the mirror.  The circles come in three sizes and they can fit inside of each other.  Once he figured this out he then looked for smaller circles to fit inside of the larger circles.



At the other end of the mirror I made a simple flower using the diamonds and a stick from the other boxes.  D was inspired by my flower and started to make new creations apart from the circles.  You can see from the photo his lines extending similar to a flower but then off of the edges.  The children were fascinated with the whole idea of the mirror on the floor.  They spent a great deal of time studying their reflections and the looking at the lights on the ceiling that appeared in the mirror.  I spent most of my time observing and guiding the students with the materials.



In another area I put a piece of Styrofoam out with dowel rods pushed into it.  I saw this idea from the blog Twodaloo.  The kids found this a little tricky, because if they loaded up one of the dowel rods it would immediately tip over.  It was a lesson in balance, weight, and fine motor skills. 



Then I changed the activity slightly and put the bowls on our tables, along with smaller mirrors that gave each child a defined area to work with.  I started by only offering them the three bowls with the pre-sorted shapes.  It didn’t take long before they were requesting the other parts of the Spielgaben set!  I found myself digging the other two trays out of the closet.  There is something very appealing about the sticks that are all different lengths that the children love.



Recently I posted about L and the amazing road scene he created with the Spielgaben set.  In his most recent encounter with the materials he combined the smaller shapes with the larger unit blocks that I have in the classroom.  The picture below shows a train that he made from the combination of the two materials!!



I must constantly remind myself that we shouldn’t limit them with their ideas or expectations for play.  I catch myself saying or thinking “We are using this right now, not that” or “These pieces are for this area only.”  Sometimes we can limit their learning and play by not allowing them control of their interactions.  L is a perfect example of this! 


I can’t wait to get these materials out again!  Each time we use them surprising things happen!