Sensory play – ice

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The rice has been such a hit that I decided that I really wanted to extend the multi-sensory element to the sensory tray.  I have been meaning to introduce ice for a while, and as the weather here is so hot right now I decided that we should give it a go.

I placed a wonderful metal dish, with sloped sides (a Goodwill find) within the sensory tray.  Add to it some ice, little plastic fish and sea creatures and some wonderfully smooth black pebbles.  The children were so excited when they saw the tray and couldn’t wait to get stuck in!  The first few minutes were spent discussing the ice itself;

“ow, it freezes” one child exclaimed.

“It came from water” another explained when I asked where it came from.

But once the initial excitement wore off I recognised that they were struggling with how to interact with this material.  Did they need tools to transfer it perhaps? One of the draws to the rice was that they could scop it up and transfer it to different containers.  I didn’t want to use the wooden scoops with the ice, so I asked the children what they thought we could use.  One chid suggested spoons, so I provided a selection for them.

Suddenly they were off and their play became so much more animated.  They scooped the ice from the dish into the tray, and back again.  they buried the creatures, and they built towers with the pebbles.

Then one child realised that the ice was turning to water.

“It is making water” they exclaimed.

“oh no, everything is getting wet” noticed another.

We looked at the things in the tray that were now glistening wet.  Someone noticed that the smooth black pebbles looked like they had glitter when they were wet.  We then examined everything in the tray to look for glitter, but only found it in the pebbles.

“They are very special” a child explained.

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2 responses »

  1. Hi! My name is Helen Bromley and I work with Early Years Educators in the UK. I run a course on investigative learning where we play with a big tray full of 3 bags of ice, cubes, all day! The course participants add diluted food colourings, (with turkey basters!! and spray bottles), glitter and salt. We watch the ice change during the day. I include some glass ice cubes to encourage questioning – why don’t they melt? I sprinkle cornflour on the bottom of a shallow black tray and put the ice cubes on that – watch how the food colouring re acts with it. Use two primary colours for incredible effects.
    For fabulous and unusual small world play add dragons and wizards, or even dinosaurs!
    Try adding bicarbonate of soda to see if it fizzes…. sometimes it does…..
    For something really dramatic,freeze a balloon full of water, add that to the ice cubes and spray it with salty water – wait for the cracking noises. Or freeze a rubber glove full of water, to craete a mystical hand….
    Loved reading about what happened with your children.

  2. Pingback: Baby Play : Ice Sensory | hands on : as we grow

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