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Sensory Centers 1

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 4:50 PM
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  • Sensory experiences-experiences that offer opportunities for free exploration in a variety of curriculum activities.

Water, Sand, and Mud Play

  • Water play can be relaxing and help calmn down a frustrated child.
  • Give a child unstrusctured time to sepend experimenting with sand.

Purposes and Objectives:

  • Perform simple experiements
  • Measure, Compare, and Problem Solve
  • Play Creatively
  • Develop new vocabulary
  • Demonstrate new concepts

Props and materials:

Suggested Props

  • Basters
  • Eyedroppers
  • Funnels
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Scoops
  • Sieves
  • Colander
  • Straws
  • Slotted spoon
  • Buckets, pails, and tubs
  • Magnifying glass
  • Plastic tubing
  • Child-size brooms and dust pan
  • Rotary eggbeaters
  • Spray bottles
  • Cookie cutters
  • Gelatin molds
  • Salt shakers
  • Scale
  • Sand timer
  • Sand combs
  • Spoons and shovels
  • Bowls and pitchers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sponges

Suggested containers:

  • Sand and water table
  • Wading pool
  • Dishpan
  • Bathtub
  • Outdoor sandpile
  • Wash Tubs
  • Boxes
  • Infant tub

Suggested substitutes for sand:

  • Seashells
  • Washed gravel
  • Cork pieces
  • Sytrofoam pieces
  • Birdseed


Unit blocks-hardwood blocks used in early education envrionments, especially in block center play.

Designed by Carolyn Pratt in the early 1890s.  Individual unit block is 13.8 inches by 2 1/4 inches by 5 1/2 inches, and all other blocks are multiples of or division of this basic size.

Hollow blocks-wooden blocks larger than unit blocks and open on the sides

51.2 inches by 11 inches by 11 inches is the basic square. There are five other pieces in a set: a half-square, a double square, two lengths of flat board, and a ramp. Hollowed blocks are open on the sides so they can be carried more easily.

Other types of blocks are: shoe-box size cardboard blocks, some of which are designed to look like brikcs; small, wooden, colored ones that can be used as table blocks; log-type building blocks; interlocking blocks, such as Legos or Bristle Blocks' and foam blocks and largely printed colored lightweight blocks for infants, and toddlers' first experiences with block play.

The unit blocks should be placed on low shelves according to shape and size for organization and storage.  Label the shelves with the outlines of the shapes and sizes of the different types of blocks.  This assists children with cleanup and emphasizes classification.  Place blocks other than the unit or hollow blocks in plastic containers or boxes clearly labeled for identification.

Block play is noisy, so the center should be placed next to other active areas, such as dramatic play. The block area should be clearly defined on three sides. This offers protection and security for all children's activities.  An area rug or carpet should be on the floor to absorb some of the noise as well as to offer comfort to the children playing.

Purposes and Objectives:

  • strengthen such perceptions of space as under, below, in front of, behind, above, inside, and outside
  • develop concepts of big/little, more than/less than, equal to, and taller/shorter
  • become aware of whole-part relationships
  • practice balancing, stablizing, and matching skills
  • classify according to shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and types
  • develop symbollic representations as the blocks become whatever the children want them to be
  • create architectural forms by bridging and making tunnels, ramps, and grids
  • make use of imagery and recall by reproducing and recreating forms from past experiences
  • strengthen large and small muscle skills and eye-hand coordination
  • develop oral language skills
  • participate in cooperative block play with peers while continuing ideas and solving problems
  • release emotions in an acceptable way
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 4:50 PM
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