Using seashells, water, and rocks, we created an ocean habitat for one of our favorite sea creatures: the shark!
We began this activity with a discussion of the shark, where they live, what they eat, and how they survive within their slippery environments!
This kind of play involves all of the senses. It is called sensory play, and we use it in our classroom all of the time! Why do we love this kind of play? For many reasons! For one, sensory play allows children to form mental images about what they are seeing.
Adults already do this naturally, but in young children, it is still developing.
Sensory play also involves the combining of different materials. These combinations are very important for the scientific exploration of cause and effect.
Sensory play can also foster language and cognitive reasoning, as students create various dialogues for the characters in their sensory environments. For example, your little ones discovered that predatory sharks could be hidden by creating “hiding spots” with rocks. They communicated this to one another, and had to manipulate the rocks to hold their sharks down, as many of them floated and were unable to sink.
Lastly, are the prosocial interactions that are fostered as a result of sensory play. These interactions develop as students discuss and share their experiences with one another.