Today, inspired by the 🐦 Bird Unit Study, we are exploring a Bird-themed sensory bin.
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, from birth till about seven years of age, children have a very sensorial relationship with their world –they use all of their five senses: of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell to explore their environment. Anything that comes in contact with their senses, goes directly to their brain. Dr. Maria Montessori called a child a “sensorial explorer." She believed that a Sensorial Activity - selecting just one sense - allows a child to discriminate order and grade the environment. As such, all of the sensorial materials were designed to isolates just one quality which is to be worked with by a child, thus allowing the child to focus on that one quality exclusively and wholeheartedly. Also, the material should be esthetically pleasing, thus attracting child’s attention and allowing the child to manipulate such material with pleasure. Moreover, the material must be complete (make sure you have enough objects for each numeral), thus allowing a child to finish through the entire work cycle without having to stop and find a missing piece. Most importantly, Dr. Maria Montessori designed her Sensorial materials to be“materialized abstractions” - meaning that through such materials, abstract concepts are made into concrete materials.
What you need:
- a bin, box, tub, tray or any other container;
- filler: we are using white rice with thin spaghetti (to resemble little twigs), fresh dried flowers, rosemary and herbs;
- the exact quantity of objects to represent each numeral;
- numbers one through ten;
- a spork tongs for transferring (buy here).
The purpose of this activity is for the child, while utilizing his/her fine-motor skills, to retrieve all the objects using tongs, and then sort them, count, and match the exact number of objects to its respective numeral.
Exploring the sensory bin by touching and feeling the content stimulates tactile senses.
While using tongs to retrieve all the objects, the child is practicing pincer-grip while developing fine-motor skills.
Smelling dried flowers stimulates olfactory senses.
All quantity objects are retrieved, sorted, counted and matched to the correct numeral.
Although this activity is primarily tactile (stimulating the sense of 🖐🏻 touch), the sense of 👀 sight was also stimulated as Adrian had to visually discriminate the miniature objects to retrieve, sort and count them. Also the sense of👃🏻 smell was triggered by smelling dried flowers and herbs, thus giving our Bird-inspired sensory bin an olfactory dimension.
I strongly believe that sensory bins are extremely important for child's development since by manipulating different textures and fillers children are triggering various sensory stimulations, sending multiple signals between neurons, thus strengthening neurons connectivity and spurring neuroplasticity (the production of new connections between neurons and new neurons themselves), which in turn increases brains' agility. Can we ask for more from an aesthetically pleasing tactile sensory bin?
To learn more about Birds, see our 🐦 Bird Unit Study here.
p.s. We did a similar sensory bin last Christmas - read here our "Christmas-inspired Shredded Paper Sensory Bin with a Math twist" post.