What’s In Your Sensory Table?
What do leaves, pumpkins, and feathers have in common?
They’ve all been in my sensory table for the last month! (This fall we opened a brand new office – here are details if you’ve missed it!)
Because my little friends and groups are brand new, I wanted to focus more on social and language skills than managing behavior. I purposefully did not use sensory materials that needed to stay in the table. Actually, I encouraged my friends to take the materials out and play!
We started with leaves – decorative leaves – not real ones that crumble in little hands! We had tons of fun throwing, raking, making piles, and jumping in mostly as we learned our new song.
Then we moved on and added (fake/decorative) pumpkins so that we could still throw, rake, pile, and jump – but now we could sort too! My little friends had lots of fun putting the pumpkins in one basket and the leaves in another. The best part, of course, was dumping them all out again!
Last week, we added feathers in a gear up for turkeys and Thanksgiving. Now we could practice sorting 3 groups of items. Sometimes we got lost between because the urge to dump or rake overtook us, but it (usually) ended well!
Initially, our focus for this activity was mostly social – having fun with our friends when we were playing with the leaves and singing “All the Leaves.”
Next, we worked on building new vocabulary, both expressively and receptively, and following directions to (sort of) stay on task.
I am very happy to report that all four of my little friends who used this activity every time they came to speech are now saying (approximating!) “leaves” and “pumpkin.” Plus they’re using other new words too like rake, jump, and throw.
Sorting has been very regulating for all of my little ones – but especially those who are super busy and need help attending and staying on task.
It’s also been a great way to encourage the children to talk to each other. Everyone is now calling at least one other little friend by name!!
It’s been so successful that I’m keeping the same model for Christmas.
First, I’ll add colored bows and play matching games and following directions (all 4 of these kids have taught themselves colors!)
When interest begins to wane, we’ll add (plastic) Christmas balls for sorting groups of 2 – bows vs. balls and decorating some pretend Christmas trees.
On Saturday, I found a bucket of jingle bells (at Lowe’s) and I’ll add them the next week.
Those last few sessions before Christmas, I plan to focus on VOWEL DIFFERENTIATION (with target words bow, bell, ball) for 3 of my 4 sweeties. They all have varying degrees of suspected apraxia and this will be a fabulous way to target that very boring goal.
I’ll post updates as we go!
I’m having sooooo much fun again and I am so very thankful.
I hope you can tell!!
Blessings to you all for Thanksgiving and beyond…