Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Easy Snowball Sensory Table

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A little over a year ago I moved from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay area.  It's been a big adjustment for me and the kids.  My son had to change schools (then change again when he entered a special education class at the beginning of the school year), we can no longer have a "beach day" in January because the water up here is freezing, and of course we all had to make new friends.  Boy, did I win the jackpot with that!  I've met some terrific moms since I moved which has kept me and my children active around town.  

Once of the places we visit regularly is The Duck Pond, a non-profit indoor play space in south San Jose.  Because it's non-profit, they relay on volunteers to help out during the 2 hour session they are open each day.  One of my friends was a regular volunteer and she talked me into it as well, along with another good friend.  Now we are all there at least once a week helping in various forms to keep the place running.  Over the year I've been there, it's been noticed that my talents lie with the craft projects and the occasional sensory activity.  I am extremely limited in these areas; no paint or super messy sensory items (rice, flour, sand, etc) of any kind, simply because the parents are required to be involved and many aren't.  Too much for us volunteers to have to clean up.  So, it's become a challenge for me, in a good way (keeps those gray cells working hard).   

Digging through supplies last week I came across cotton balls and styrofoam balls and the snowball sensory table was born!

Most of us, even The Duck Pond, have inexpensive water tables laying around for warmer weather.  Well, dig it out because it's not just for water!  Water tables have many uses, that I hope to explore over the coming months.  

For this table I kept it simple: cotton balls, styrofoam balls, cups, and some pretend ice cream scoops we had in our "snack shop" pretend play area.  That's it!  

When I put the table out, I had the cotton and styrofoam balls mixed together. The children quickly separated the two (sorting=math).   

Then we had all kinds of scooping going on.  Kids were scooping styrofoam balls, kids were scooping cotton balls.  Some were pretending it was snow, some pretended it was ice cream.  The smallest children enjoyed throwing the cotton balls into the air.  It was a frenzy of exploration and the parents were loving it!  

This is a perfect indoor activity for winter and rainy days.  The clean up is easy and I'm sure you have at least cotton balls and kids cups around your house to get this table going today.  Don't have a water table?  Try using a large plastic storage bin or if you want a smaller scale, use a plastic 6-Quart Storage Box (shoe box sized).

I hope this activity will keep your kids sane during indoor weather.  Let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment or share your photos over on my Facebook page.  

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