Sensory Play

How I teach Toddlers with Sensory Play timeSensory Play is probably my boys’ most favorite time of day. Making a mess, making connections, interacting with each other in a semi-structured environment and discovering new abilities is an essential part of my educational Game Plan for the Hooligans.

I “structure” our Sensory Play at 10:00 am at our Mess Mat. I use flying quotations there because the point of Sensory Play is actually that it isn’t highly structured play time. The essence is that kids get to explore freely and stimulate their senses.

How I teach with Sensory Play

For Sensory Play, I structure when it happens and how. I use Sensory Boxes & Bags, and Discovery Learning. Although Sensory Play includes any activity that stimulates your child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively. [Source]

Where do I teach it?

When it comes to setting up shop for a free moving, choice enabling, discovery learning environment I establish an area that we affectionately call The Mess Mat. This is an area in the house where Cash (and Wyatt) receive most of their lesson plans. By Montessori standards, it is what I try to make a “Prepared Environment” for their independent learning.

  1. An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity
  2. Beauty and harmony, cleanliness of environment
  3. Construction in proportion to the child and his/her needs
  4. Limitation of materials, so that only material that supports the child’s development is included
  5. Order
  6. Nature in the classroom and outside of the classroom [Source]

How to create a Montessori Inspired Prepared Environment for Kids and Toddlers to Learn. Building a Classroom. How to Build a Homes chool ClassroomMy Objective: Create a space that has limited rules, open space to explore and facilitates order among creativity. It provides opportunities for discovery learning and enables freedom to physically roam and make choices while containing a tangible mess for mom.

Read all about Training The Mess Mat HERE

Sensory Playtime Goals

Sensory Play is not new and there are many ways to use it and benefit from it. My style for Sensory Activities usually follows these guidelines

  1. Taste-Safe {My Hooligans eat everything}
  2. Connected to a Theme {Supplemental to our Toddler School Unit in some way}
  3. Easy & Affordable {I see lots of sensory “supplies” for sale on the Internet, when truly you have it all right at home!}

Here are my Lessons…

I have put together my own list of all the Sensory Play we have done together throughout our units. If you’re looking for a quick, fun activity, you’ll find something here:

Discovery Learning


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