I love Spring! It is one of my favorite seasons. Everything comes to life, everyone heads outside, and we turn our focus to the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. When possible, I love to combine our sensory play with holidays and seasons, so I grabbed a few bags of jelly beans while I was at the grocery yesterday. I also grabbed the Easter eggs we had in the closet, and we had a wonderful afternoon of sensory play!
Feed the Bunny
I prepped our first activity during nap time by collecting three empty water bottles and drawing bunnies to attach to them. (I wish that I could say that I grabbed them from the recycling bin, but the truth is they were all still laying around the house.) I also grabbed our tweezers out of our sensory tools, but small tongs would work too. When Auggie woke up, I had him use his tweezers to “feed the bunnies” the jelly beans. This activity was perfect for working on fine motor skills, which is an area that he needs some practice in. Fine motor skills lay the groundwork for important skills later in life like holding a pencil. If I had two or more children old enough to do this activity, I would have definitely had them see who could feed their bunny the most jelly beans. Maybe that is my competitive nature, but I think that would have only increased interest in the activity.
Counting with Jelly Beans
While he fed the bunnies, I grabbed twelve easter eggs from years past and wrote the numbers 1-12 on them. I grabbed my muffin tin to put each egg in. When he was ready, I had him grab an egg, tell me the number, and put that number of jelly beans in it. He has just recently started to master one-to-one correspondence so this activity stretched him with the most perfect level of challenge. When he finished an egg, I had him put them in his Easter basket so that he would know which ones needed to be finished. He was so proud each time he finished filling an egg and got to put it in his Easter basket.
Egg Hunt and Number Line
Are you really a parent if you don’t use the classic past time of egg hunts this time of year? I remember spending afternoons in the yard when Auggie was a toddler trying to teach him to hunt eggs and prepare for the church egg hunt. A few years have passed, but he still loves a good egg hunt in the back yard. So, I took our twelve numbered eggs and hid them. Apparently, my hiding skills have improved because he needed some help to find the eggs. Once he had collected them all I had him count them all an then put them in order making a number line in the yard. I was amazed at how effortlessly he did this.
Jelly Bean Addition
This activity was off script a bit, but when August requested another activity, I decided to give it a try. August is three and was slow in learning to count, so I knew this was an advanced activity that would require a lot of guidance. I grabbed our muffin tin and added a few jelly beans of different colors to the first two columns, leaving the last column empty. I made sure the total of the two columns for each row totaled eight or less. For the activity, I had him count the beans in each muffin cup, moving both sets over to the empty cup when he finished counting. Then, I had him count the two colors together giving me a total for the two colors of jelly beans. I lead the discussion saying things like, “Three red jelly beans plus two green jelly beans equals five jelly beans.” While he did not fully grasp addition through this activity, it was a great opportunity to introduce vocabulary and lay a foundation for addition later on. Obviously, with an older child, you could make this a much more independent activity with bigger numbers.
This activity is simple, easy enough for the youngest of learners, and a great water play activity. I took our sensory tub, added a few bowls with water, grabbed some spoons, cups, and ladles and let the boys play! Water play can get messy, but its nothing that a dry pair of clothes and a towel can’t solve. I have found that water play can level the playing field on age differences and lend to hours of fun!
What fun activities do you like to do this time of year? I would love for you to share in the comments.