Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tips to increase gross motor skills in pre-schoolers (Sensory Play)

I am always looking for some cheap but creative ways to promote gross motor skills. Megha and I equally enjoy doing things together. I think as a parent the more we get involved with the child the more she learns. Thats why I always (try) carry a sense of wonder with me when I am with Megha.

Sorting Game: Sensory Play
This game doesnt require much. We gathered some basic material that was already available in the kitchen. The idea is to gather items that are of different sizes, shapes, colors, textures, smells and sounds.

I used several items and some of them were un-cooked pasta, stars, cardamom, cloves, peanuts, raisins, almonds, chick peas etc. I gave her a muffin pan and asked her to sort each identical item in each slot in the muffin pan. Since I sat down with her, she was even more interested.

While "playing" (we learn while we play), we explored the different textures of the food using our hands. She learned that we use out mouth/tongue to taste. She loved eating those raisins. She learned that we use our eyes to see. She learned that we use our nose to smell. She learned that we use our ears to hear. She may have known these things subconsciously already but having gone through this particular sensory play, she now consciously knows that she can use different parts of her body to do different things. She also learned that she may not need all 5 senses to identify an item. For example, she now knows that if she has her eyes closed, she can use her mouth to identify that what she is eating is a raisin :) My smart girl!

We smelled the cardamoms, tasted the chocolate chips (yummm), star-ani (yukkk) etc. We took uncooked chikpeas and rolled between the fingers. We decided that next time we go to Florida to visit Micky and Minnie, we would tell Minnie about the bow-tie pasta and how wonderful Minnie would look when she wears a bow tie pasta in her hair (For those of you who dont know, Minnie loves Bows)....It was totally Megha's idea. See what happens when you ask kids their opinion on something? Nothing less than awesome :)
We decided that our favorite item of all are the raisins as they "taste like honey" according to her.

This exercise not only promotes gross motor skills when her small fingers are sorting shapes/colors, it also promotes thinking and gives us at least an hour of fun packed "play".
If you ask me, kids learn things faster when the environment is supportive, respectful and playful in its setting.

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