Welcome to this year’s A to Z Challenge! This year I’m talking Child Care. I’ll be blogging topics related to my many years in the family home daycare profession. I hope you can find a tidbit of information that is useful in caring for children whether you’re a parent, grand or another important person in a child’s life. And to end each post, I’ll share a bit of my creative side/relaxation time. Taking time for yourself is good for your health–both yours and your family’s 😉
Before COVID19 I would have added numerous ways to add materials to your sensory table/bin. Things like Colored oats, cornstarch slime, sugar sand, cornstarch goop, cornmeal or even toilet paper ‘mud’. But now I’m thinking of more on the non-food directions due to the way food has been wiped off the shelves. It was one reason my daycare was closed earlier than most. Total disregard took its toll. But I digress. To keep on topic, let’s look at ways to incorporate the sensory experience without breaking the bank (or taking away from someone’s supper table).
Bird seed is still my favorite outdoor bin filler. But there are more choices:
- Shredded paper (use up that junk mail)
- Leaves (green or brown but know your poisonous varieties or ask an expert)
- Grass (please don’t use the grass from a mowing bag–It heats up after a time. Not safe)
- Sand (be sure to add items to seek and find)
- Cedar/pine wood chips
- Snow! Kids Always get excited about this one!
- Acorns or other native nuts(walnuts, pinecones, or what’s in your region)
- Water -Just filling and dumping can go on for hours and be sure to add baby dolls to bathe.
- At the end of the garden season, let them pull sunflower seeds out of the flowers and put them in a feeder or save them for next year.
What about textures? As a quilter, the scraps of fabric are great sensory/art items to add to the mix. I’ve recently created a bag of chopped scraps for pillow and toy stuffing. Letting children fill a sewn pillow or toy form is on the agenda once I’ve reopened. Sew many plans as the saying goes.
Make that scarecrow this fall. Stuff it with old newspapers, shredded paper, straw or leaves. Such a large- whole body sensory experience. They will be so proud of it and they will treat it like someone special. It’s too sweet an opportunity to pass up. Our once-upon-a-time cat who was blatantly stolen from us would sit upon our annual scarecrow’s lap to warm its feet in the chilly air. And talk about a photo prop! Good Stuff!!
So remember, the sensory experience isn’t strictly for the bin/tub. The senses are all about feeling textures, experiences smells and sounds, as well as seeing the element in new ways and put to new use.
Speaking of items flying off the shelves, I have made up my mind after some deliberating with the family that I’m making us a set of “Unpaper Towels”/ Snack napkins or whatever you wish to call them. They’re a way to remove the need for as many paper towels and napkins in my life. I will and always will be an avid hand washer and I spent an exponentially large sum on paper towels. That is I Used To spend a lot on them until they weren’t available any longer. This pandemic has definitely taught life lessons to this 54-year old on consumption, unavailability and good ol’ fashioned American ingenuity. I won’t be dependant from now on.