Posts Tagged With: sensory play

Lesson Plan: A is for Alligator

We’re starting our preschool year with the letters of the alphabet. Each letter goes with a theme that we focus on for the week. Each week covers math, science, geography, sensory activities, crafts, letters, calendar, weather, music, ASL, Bible, P.E., and story time. It may seem like a lot, but Isaiah gets through most of it in under two hours each day. Some activities are only once or twice a week. If it takes longer, it’s because he’s having too much fun and wants to keep doing something longer than originally planned. I’m sure not going to argue with that.

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Just being cute

A is for Alligator

Click here to see the full lesson plan for the week. Feel free to use all or part of it yourself.

Our days all start out the same. We look at the calendar, discuss the weather and sing the ABCs. This is an opportunity to practice counting (days on the calendar), learn about dates, learn the weather, and do a little quick review.

The “name” section on the lesson plan is pretty simple. Isaiah does not write his name yet. He has learned the first two letters and really struggles with the rest, so we have to work on that every morning. I try to give some variety and do things he enjoys so that he’s more willing to practice.

I chose 5 Little Monkeys to learn this week because I couldn’t find any rhymes specifically about alligators. The rhyme can be found here. Isaiah loved it and picked up on it very quickly. Along with the rhyme, we always sing a couple of songs. I wrote in some songs I knew he’d know well to kick off our year because I wanted to keep things simple. Music is pretty flexible, though. Once we did what was written on the plan, I let him pick a couple of songs he wanted to sing. The purpose of music time is simply to have fun and get a basic introduction to music, though, really, he’s already pretty familiar with music because he’s in a music loving family.

Isaiah saying his rhyme

I have chosen to work on American Sign Language with Isaiah as a foreign language. He’s also working on Spanish with my dad, but that’s not on the lesson plan because he’s not around during our school hours. I believe that learning more languages is good for his brain’s development, so I work hard to give him lots of opportunities to learn them. Again, we started really simple. I didn’t want to overwhelm him at the beginning because school needs to be fun at this age. There’s certainly freedom to add more during phases where he’s picking things up quickly. The lesson plan will still just show a few key words that I really want him to know by the end of the week. Just assume he’s likely picking up a bit more than that. These words also go on his word wall. (If you’d like to do ASL with your child, this is a great free resource to get you started.

Our reading plan was a bit all over the place this week because the library had nothing about alligators. Oops. We also make sure to take some time for a Bible lesson. This includes reading Bible stories and working on his AWANA book and memory verse.

Isaiah's first AWANA verse

Science is Isaiah’s favorite thing in the world, so I wanted to make sure to nourish that. This week’s science included a video because he learns well through that. He’s been watching several science shows for quite a while and regularly amazes me with his understanding. Wild Kratts (and really anything by the Kratt brothers) is really popular with him and has tons of great, kid friendly information. After watching the video, we discussed what he’d learned and what he thought about it. On another day, we took it a step further by coloring a picture of an alligator’s habitat. This was another opportunity to talk about where they live, what they eat and what they look like.

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Coloring the alligator habitat

Math varies a lot for Isaiah because he doesn’t count very high, but within the numbers he knows, he’s able to do simple addition and subtraction. This week focused on getting him to count a little higher. I printed off pictures of alligators for him to count. I laid out different numbers for him and asked how many he saw. When the numbers got too high for him, I helped him to keep going.

Geography is another activity that Isaiah has shown a specific interest in. He’s fascinated by maps and wants to be able to read them. He loves to ask where people and animals live, when looking at maps. So, we’re working with maps as much as possible. This week, we charted the American Alligator’s territory on a simple outline map. This was also an opportunity to introduce him to using books for research (he’s used to seeing me Google things, so it’s important to me that he learn that information can be found in books, too). Since, obviously, he’s not reading, I helped him locate the right page in a book about animals so that he could find the map and copy the territory to his map.

A is for Alligator Map

Isaiah's completed map

Sensory and craft times are lots of fun. This week, Isaiah practiced writing the letter A in shaving cream, made an alligator from the letter A, played with water beads, made a card for his cousin, and played in a bucket of beans.

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Not so sure about the shaving cream

Letter A Alligator

Working happily on his alligator

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Water beads

P.E. for us is just an opportunity to burn some energy. Sometimes it’s pretty organized, other times it’s just Isaiah being wild. This week, I taught Isaiah how to play hopscotch. He was absolutely thrilled and has started using the tiles in the kitchen as a giant game of hopscotch. We also played with a mini trampoline and played games. Sadly, the weather went sour on us, so he didn’t get to ride his bike, but he’s hoping for a dry day to do next week.

Isaiah made up a song to help himself get the steps right

Hopscotch

Hopscotch fun

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Categories: Homeschool, Lesson Plans | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wave Bottles

Isaiah and I made a couple of wave bottles tonight. The goal was to make one that glowed under a black light. Our first one did not, so we made a second.

Wave Bottles

Well shaken wave bottle

Instructions

supplies
Empty plastic bottle
Water
Highlighter (make sure it’s fluorescent)
Oil (we used baby oil)
Confetti

Wave Bottles

Supplies for Bottle #1

Take apart the highlighter and put the foamy ink cartridge out. Put it into the water to soak. You can squeeze it to make the ink come out faster, but beware–you may end up with dyed fingers. I used a fork to press the ink out, though I still ended up with some on my hands. Isaiah even, somehow, managed to get it on his face. Once the water has a good bit of ink in it, take the foam out and throw it away. Pour the water into the water bottle, filling it about two thirds of the way. Drop in a bit of confetti and top off the bottle with oil. Hot glue the lid on and you’re ready to play.

Wave Bottles

Soaking the ink

Wave Bottles

Finished bottle

As I said, our first bottle didn’t work. My pink highlighter (Isaiah’s color of choice this week) wasn’t fluorescent. Oops. We also didn’t put any confetti in that bottle. It still makes an awesome wave bottle. The color from the highlighter looks really nice and very different from what we would have gotten with food coloring.

Wave Bottles

Isaiah says it makes really good waves

Wave Bottles

Waves

For our second bottle, we used a yellow highlighter. We tested it with the black light before pulling it apart to be sure it would glow. I let Isaiah put some confetti into this bottle, which he was pretty excited about. Then I turned him loose to try it with the black light. My dad propped it up against the side of the tv so that Isaiah could do whatever he wanted with his bottle, without someone having to hold the light the entire time. Isaiah raced back and forth, putting the bottle in front of the light, then moving away for quite a while. He decided to test a few other things under the black light, too.

Wave Bottles

Looking through the glowing bottle

Wave Bottles

Floating confetti

Glowing Boy

My glowing boy

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Science, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Spy Bottles

I made an I Spy bottle years ago at a 4-H day camp. I kept it for years and really loved it, so I wanted to do one with Isaiah. There was only one small catch… Isaiah can’t read the list of items to find. I went ahead and got supplies to make the bottle, then, as we were making it, I realized that I could easily take a picture of the items to attach to the bottle. It worked great!

I Spy Bottles

I Spy bottle

In the end, we actually made a few bottles with different things inside. We’ll probably make more later. It’s easy to get things that go together and make bottles with different themes. We can try different fillers, too.

Here’s what you need:
Plastic bottle
Filler: We used rice for two bottles and birdseed in a third. You can also use sand, colored salt (or colored rice) or beans.
Trinkets: This can be just about anything that will fit into the mouth of your bottle. Ours had shaped erasers, buttons, a crayon, rubber bands, bobbie pins and beads.
Glue: White glue works fine, though hot glue dries much faster and tends to be a bit more secure.
Ribbon: I tied the list onto the bottle with ribbon. I only actually attached a list to one bottle, since Isaiah is more interested in shaking it to make cool sounds and seeing the treasure inside than he is in deliberately searching for an object.

I Spy Bottles

The list of treasures

I let Isaiah fill the bottles himself, which was pretty exciting for him. He filled them about halfway, added the trinkets, then put in the rest of the filler. Once everything was inside, I helped him put on the lid and shake the bottle to spread the toys throughout. It’s really important to make sure there’s some extra space left in the bottle when you fill it or nothing will move when you turn or shake it.

I Spy Bottles

Carefully filling the bottle

I Spy Bottles

He's pretty proud of his bottles

I Spy Bottles

Shaking his finished bottle

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sensory Bottle–First Attempt

Isaiah and I made a sensory bottle last night. I only had one bottle, so we just made a very simple one this time. Here’s what we did.

Sensory Bottle

Our finished bottle

What you need:
Empty bottle (we used a Gatorade bottle)
Water
Glitter
Food coloring (must be water based)
We also used some stickers because we didn’t have confetti

Sensory Bottle

Isaiah with his bottle full of glitter and stickers

I let Isaiah put the stickers and glitter into the bottle before adding the water. Once he was done adding glitter and stickers, I carefully poured some of the water in. With very close supervision, I allowed Isaiah to add food coloring to the water. Giving him control resulted in a really dark color, but he liked the independence of doing it himself. I added the rest of the water and glued on the lid. He’s been playing with it ever since. Next time, we’re going to try using baby oil for some of the bottles.

Sensory Bottle

Excited that there's water inside

Sensory Bottle

Dye mixing

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bubbles

This may not really seem like a sensory idea, but I think it is. Isaiah loves bubbles. He loves blowing. The blowing seems to really help him and he blows when he doesn’t have bubbles, so why not use bubbles to help him enjoy the sensation? Here are some pictures of him enjoying the bubbles.

Bubbles!

Blowing...

Bubbles!

''I caught one!''

Bubbles!

Bubbles!

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Toxic Waste Slime

We stopped in Dollar Tree to pick up paper cups for a craft and I promised Isaiah that he could pick one toy to buy. While we were there, I kept an eye out for new sensory activities, as always. Isaiah selected a dolphin that he immediately deemed “Winter“. I was quite happy to have a find of my own. A little plastic barrel of neon colored slime. It was made to look like a toxic waste container. I couldn’t tell through the packaging what it might be like, but I figured for a buck, it was worth a try for Isaiah.

Toxic Waste Slime

Toxic waste

Well, it was a hit! It’s the nastiest substance I’ve encountered in quite a while, but Isaiah loves it. He played in it happily for a long time and I’m sure he’ll be happy to see it again soon!

Toxic Waste Slime

This is definitely the face of a happy child

Toxic Waste Slime

Such a weird substance...

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sensory Table

Just for fun, I set up a table with a bunch of sensory toys for Isaiah. He thought it was amazing. I put a water bucket on the floor so he could rinse his hands when he felt a need, too, which made him happier to stay for a while. He switched between activities constantly. I think I’ll set him up with a different set of sensory activities soon. It was certainly worth the effort of setting it up!

Sensory Table

All the sensory activities on Isaiah's table

Activity 1: Water Beads

I put his water beads in a pan with some plastic hearts that I got around Valentine’s Day. I also put out some cups to scoop and pour the water beads. Of course, he also had the option to try to sort out the hearts, but he was much more interested in pouring the beads.

Sensory Table

Water beads and plastic hearts, waiting for Isaiah

Sensory Table

Scooping water beads

Activity 2: Beans and Cars

Isaiah adores cars, so I put a set of little plastic cars in a pan with dry beans. Again, I gave him cups and scoops to manipulate the beans. He was more interested in the cars than scooping, though, which was fine with me. He tried to make roads to drive the cars on. After a while, he tried burying the cars, too.

Sensory Table

The cars and beans

Sensory Table

Driving a car

Activity 3: Shaving Cream

The last activity was a pan of shaving cream. I put some red hearts in the bottom of the pan before I added the shaving cream. They were completely covered, so Isaiah didn’t even know they were there until he stuck his hands deep into the shaving cream. He didn’t stay with the shaving cream for very long because he wasn’t in the mood for messy play. He was more interested in having an excuse to stick his hands in the bucket of water.

Sensory Table

Shaving cream and carefully hidden hearts

Sensory Table

Shaving cream doesn't pour very well...

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fluffy Stuff

I came across this recipe about a week ago and decided to give it a try. I didn’t have as much cornstarch as it called for, so I just made a small batch. It’s been a huge hit. The best part is that it can be put in a bag and saved for another day. It’s lasted us a week so far.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Fluffy Stuff

Recipe
2 boxes of cornstarch
1 can of shaving cream
Optional: dye/food coloring (we didn’t add any color)
Mix together until the shaving cream is spread evenly through the mixture
Play!

"Fluffy Stuff"

Helping mix it and totally amazed

"Fluffy Stuff"

Deep concentration

The shaving cream makes the concoction cling to itself just enough to be able to form balls (or rocks, as Isaiah called them). If you pinch them or poke them with a spoon, though, they turn back to powder. Isaiah thought this was great fun. He also loves just burying his hands in the mixture and scooping it.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Sneaking a taste. He says it tastes like chocolate. Not so sure I believe that one...

"Fluffy Stuff"

Having tons of fun

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

1st Day of School

Since Isaiah is about to turn three, we’re officially starting preschool at home. Isaiah is pretty excited about it, though he’s not really sure what it means yet. We’re keeping it pretty basic. Really, it mostly means that we’re trying to get a little more structure in his world, while doing some fun learning activities.

First Day of Preschool

First day of school

Today’s learning activities included lots of play time and play dough. Since our theme is snow, Isaiah played with white play dough to build snowmen and snowflakes. He had tons of fun and some help from me and DJ. Play dough keeps him happily entertained for long periods and is a great sensory activity for him.

Play Dough Snow

Flattening the play dough

Play Dough Snow

This is fun!

Play Dough Snow

Squish

Categories: Homeschool, Sensory Play | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cats and Rice

Isaiah loves using rice for sensory play. It’s one of his absolute favorites. He enjoys scooping and pouring, but he especially loves having special toys to play with in the rice. Tonight, I pulled out a set of cats for him. He played with the cats, buried the cats and dug them out. He said they were playing “hide and seek”. Adding something new and different can help keep him entertained for longer periods of time.

Rice and Kitties

Ready for play

Rice and Kitties

Kitty!

Rice and Kitties

So much fun

I’ve found lots of different sets at Dollar Tree to help build our sensory collections. The great thing about getting them from Dollar Tree is that they’re fairly easy to replace when the various sensory activities eventually damage them. Isaiah has a set of little cars, various animal sets and lots of scoops and buckets.

Categories: Sensory Play | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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