A Handful of Messy and Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Think of preschoolers, these young learners have been smelling, tasting, hearing, seeing, and feeling all their lives!  They have been receiving and utilizing sensory inputs from the beginning.  That’s probably why they jump in hands first to explore any new concept or object.  They use their senses to explore and understand any new information.

Sensory Play

Knowledge through experience – Based on the same theory, it becomes a preschool teacher’s responsibility to allow the learners to gain knowledge through experience, not just instructions.  They should be using their senses to engage in new experiences and as they discuss their observations they develop new language tools which in turn connect with their sensory tools, thereby building cognitive concepts and language relevant to the experience.

Scientific inquiry – Messy and sensory play is a scientific process involving questions and investigations by the child. By smelling, hearing, grabbing, watching, licking or rubbing they collect data and answer questions. 

Messy and sensory play ideas:

  • Play Dough – Let the children explore Play Dough. Let them roll it, stretch it, squeeze it, splat it. Alternatively, you can also give them DIY slime which can be easily made with water and cornflour. Both Play Dough and DIY slime are brilliantly tactile substance for messy and sensory play.
  • Bubbles – Children love playing with bubbles, mix up some food color to your bubbles and voila! You have hours of sensory play activity for your pupils.
  • Finger Painting – Paint is another wonderful tactical substance to explore. Messy and sensory play through hand and finger painting allows learners to feel the texture and color of paint between their fingers!
  • Food – Pasta and cereals can be used to explore textures. Other food items like jelly and mashed potatoes also provide wonderful sensory experiences.

Whether with a tub of sand or with popcorn kernels in a tin can, keep experimenting to find different ways that optimize the sensory play.  Provide your students the time and space for sensory play and let them learn and explore!

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