I hope you all have been enjoying getting outside & connecting with what matters. Don’t worry if you miss a day here and there, or are doing the weekly activities out of order. All that matters is that you are having fun with your kids as often as you can outdoors.
Get Outside & Connect Activity Week #10
Gather Treasures for a Nature Sensory Bin/Basket
Get outside and spend time collecting treasures for a nature sensory bin with your child this week. You will find that there are many items waiting for you and your child to discover right outside your door. You may not even need to leave your backyard — although I would encourage you to search in other areas.
A nature sensory bin is a container or basket filled with items found in nature. The best part about natural sensory bins is that they will all be different. A sensory bin of someone who lives near a beach will look very different from the sensory bin of someone who lives in the mountains. Just as a sensory bin gathered in the spring will look very different from one collected in the fall. Even city dwellers will be amazed at the number of items they can find once they start looking.
This activity also helps children naturally want to learn more about the region that they live in. A sense of discovery that will continue for the rest of their lives as they venture off to explore new and different areas.
Once you have gathered all of your treasures place them in a bin or basket. Wonderful bins and baskets can be found at thrift stores and garage sales. Don’t put anything that may be harmful or toxic to touch or taste. When in doubt leave it out. Please don’t allow your children to play with anything they are not yet mature enough to handle. If you child still puts things in their mouth make sure you don’t include small items.
The Benefits of Sensory Play
Sensory play contributes in crucial ways to brain development. From the time of their birth, children have learned everything they know about the world by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, and hearing. Stimulating the senses sends signals to children’s brains that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning. Think of it as “food for the brain.”
As children explore sensory materials, they develop their sense of touch, which lays the foundation for learning other skills, such as identifying objects by touch, and using fine-motor muscles. Treasures found in nature have many sensory attributes — they may be warm or cool, rough or smooth, hard or soft, textured or slimy, fragrant or bland, etc. As children play with them they learn more about them. Discovering and differentiating these characteristics is a first step in classification, or sorting — an important part of preschoolers’ science learning and discovery.
The Treasures we found for Our Sensory Basket
Several types of pinecones, feathers, sticks, rocks, fresh herbs, prickly seed pods, acorns, walnut and almond shells, etc.
Notice the different textures and colors of some of the rocks we found.
My daughter has a strange fascination with these prickly seed pods. I don’t know what they are called, but she must pick up two of them every time she see’s them. You can see what a rich sensory experience they provide. Anyone out there know what these are? Please share in the comments below.
Don’t forget herbs such as rosemary and mint to stimulate the sense of smell and taste if available.
Other Treasures You Might Find or Include in Your Nature Sensory Bin
A nature sensory bin is a container or basket filled with items found in nature. The best part about natural sensory bins is that they will all be different. Get outside to gather treasures to make your own today!
More Outside Activities
- To find more outside activities and learn about the Get Outside & Connect Series click on the link.
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