Are you like me and sometimes feel like your little ones spend more time getting ready to play in the snow than actually playing in the snow? At our house, it usually goes something like this: gather various snow clothes, realize we’re missing a glove, put on warm clothes and hats, mittens, scarves, snow pants and winter coats…only to be stopped by a diaper change or a trip to the potty! And then we start all over again. No wonder I’m always worn out before even stepping outside!
During one of our most recent arctic freeze snowfalls; our toddler teacher implemented a great sensory activity for the Lamb’s class (ages 12 months to 18 months). She placed one of the large sensory tubs on the floor and filled it completely with snow! The children took turns wearing mittens and playing in the snow. She added a few cups, shovels, and trucks, and soon everyone was enjoying a wonderful sensory experience!
Children learn best by engaging the senses. While playing with the snow in the sensory tub the children were developing a variety of cognitive, social, physical, creative and linguistic skill sets.
A child’s cognitive skills such as problem solving and decision-making will improve through sensory experiences. This can include scooping snow into cups, comparing sizes of trucks, sorting and classifying the toys, as well as becoming more familiar with various states of matter (solid snow melting into liquid water).
Children learn to develop and improve social skills such as cooperation and collaboration as they play side by side at the sensory bin. They learn how to take turns, share, and begin to understand varying viewpoints of others.
Physical skills, particularly the fine motor skills, are very important for children to develop at an early age. Their hand-eye coordination really begins to improve at this stage, and so an activity like scooping snow with a shovel and putting it into a cup can help a child build confidence in his capabilities. Eventually, he will be able to tackle such tricky tasks as tying his shoes, buttoning his shirts, and zipping his coat. But, it all starts with these beginner fine motor skills!
Your child’s creative skills will begin to develop through his physical interaction with the snow and its unusual texture and design. Building snow castles, snowballs, and snow animals are all activities designed to further expand your child’s creative interests.
Have you ever noticed how rapidly your child’s linguistic skills develop at this age? Children are constantly soaking in the vocabulary of adults and other children. It is so important to talk to your children about the world around them. For example, pointing to the snow and saying aloud the word “cold” can be a huge learning event for your child. He may not have had a concrete example of the word before now, but suddenly, he has learned that there is a relationship between “snow”, “cold”, and “white”!
We are constantly engaging our students in interactive sensory play due to the impact sensory learning has on the early stages of childhood development. Our focus is always on creative and positive learning experiences to foster a love of learning in every child early on. For more information about our Learning through Play Initiative or our A Beka Book® Academic Program, please schedule a tour with us today!