Last week, we created a new Valentine themed sensory bin. It contains white rice, Valentine colored pompoms (Did you know they were originally called pompons?), various kinds of hearts, cupids, and flowers, a small shovel and rake, and containers used to dump and pour. We need to play with this bin inside since it's cold out, so we put a blanket under it for easy clean up.
Inviting a friend over to explore the bin allowed E to have someone who could show her new skills she might not have thought to try independently and vice versa. We also had a chance to review and model how to play with the bin appropriately (please try to keep the rice inside the bin) which was a great review for E. As she "taught" G how to use her bin, she was also refreshing the "rules" in her own mind.
This also gave me time to clean up after dinner while they were engrossed in the bin.
E is a natural organizer. On Saturday morning, she asked for her bin while I was working on chores. After allowing her to play independently for awhile, I sat to observe what she was doing, We started chatting about how items were the same and different. I would watch her sort by whatever attributes she decided were correct as we discussed them. There were times when I wouldn't have understood how she saw that the items were the same until we talked about it. Other times I started to sort for her and let her continue to sort additional items in the tray. I was excited because she was practicing fine motor skills (check out that pincher grasp) and working on math concepts naturally. All I had provided were the materials and the rest was up to her. Plus we were having so much fun together yet she had also explored it while I worked on other tasks.
E's age: 24 months