Updated: Jun 8
Something I've come to really love lately is pairing sensory activities with some of the books we read.
Sensory activities provide opportunities for children to develop their fine and gross motor skills, ability to communicate and problem solving skills, just to name a few.
Two weeks ago, our book of the week was, "El Camioncito Azul" (The Little Blue Truck) (Affiliate Link). We purchased it in Spanish since we have a bilingual homeschool and couldn’t find it at our local library. Also, here is a link to the English version "The Little Blue Truck" (Affiliate Link).
We had never read it before and being that my son, Jaya, is big into trucks right now, this one was a quick favorite.
The story tells the tale of a friendly little blue truck who ends up saving a not-so-nice dump truck that gets stuck in the mud. With the help of some of his animal friends, The Little Blue truck manages to get the big dump truck out and saves the day!
Trucks? Mud? Animals? This book obviously calls for a very muddy and fun sensory bin!
Want to give it a try with your little one?
Here's what we did...
Put an old t-shirt or smock on your little one, find a nice shady spot outside and fill a large container/bucket with dirt. We just happened to have a bag of organic dirt in our shed that was perfect for this activity.
If you don't have any dirt, sand or rice will work just as well but remember that playing with dirt has many benefits, including boosting the immune system!
Make sure that you fill the container with enough to cover all of the objects very well. Encourage as much digging and exploring as possible!
Hide farm animals (Affiliate Link) and a little blue truck in the dirt. Make sure that what your child is searching for is mostly found at the bottom of the container and that their little hands will have to work to find them.
You can give them a little shovel if you have a child who has sensory issues or go without if you’re little one is feeling adventurous!
Whatever you choose, just make sure that your little one has to get in there and really search for them! The dirtier they get, the better!
If you're feeling brave (and I hope you are) hand them a container of water. Here is where the real fun begins!
Let them pour as much as they would like in and watch the dirt become mud! This adds another level of excitement and curiosity to the activity.
Encourage them to squeeze, press, and push the mud through their hands.
This type of sensory play enhances fine motor skills and increases creativity.
Sit down next to them and join in! There is no agenda to this activity other than letting them explore and play.
This is another opportunity for you to ask them questions such as what does it feel like? Is it soft or hard? Cold or hot? How many animals did you find? What noises do the animals make? Which animal is your favorite?
Use this time to truly be present and connect. What children want more than anything else is your attention!
This sensory play is fun but it’s even better when you’re involved. Also, if you have a child who doesn’t particularly like to get messy, showing them that you’re ok with getting dirty will go a long way. This is a perfect way to lead by example!
You're little one will love watching the story of "The Little Blue Truck" come to life and will feel like a hero for being able to help little blue truck and his farm animal friends!
Jaya and I played for a long while with this activity. I confess that when he was done, I had to take him straight to the bathtub to rinse off all of the mud.
Later that evening when I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, he responded, “Helping Little Blue Truck!”
To help your child's development and reduce possible sensory issues, have them engage in sensory activities as early as possible.
Water play, playing with dirt, finger painting, digging through sand, squeezing play-doh are all great ways to have your little one explore different textures and allows for brain development.
Ready to get messy with your little one? Grab a towel and a positive attitude and get too it!
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