I am trying to integrate a sensory activity in each school day. I recently visited a wonderful play studio where they had such beautiful everyday objects in their sensory tray. Everything was so thoughtfully put together, and it inspired me to get more creative.
This week we have been working with rice. I have some white rice mixed with lavender for a multi-sensory experience. I also dyed a small batch of rice green, and another batch of rice rainbow colors (dyed several ziploc bags of different colors, which I then combined). Instructions for this technique can be found here. The colors seem to stay well on the rice (I used liquid water color) and the children are so excited to play with such beautiful rice!
I offered the same rice, but slightly differently presented each day. I mixed different glass stones or marbles (the children described as treasure) which were rolled, buried, found and poured! Some days I added small wooden bowls, other days little wooden pots, with wonderful wooden scoops for digging and pouring. A small brass bowl was a favorite addition. I have tried to make each addition feel special and be offered only in the sensory tray, to create a sense of magic to the area.
The tray has been such a hit that all children want to explore at the same time. This makes it fairly crowded at times. Hopefully, with the tray present every day (with different materials offered) children will be more inclined to visit it intermittently, therefore giving more space for individual exploration.