During their early years, children engage in a variety of sensory activities. It is through these activities that children’s fine motor skills, among many other areas of development, are enhanced. One type of sensory activity that children often enjoy and have fun with is sand play. Through sand play, children explore their sense of touch and discover new textures. Because it is open-ended, sand play can also be very soothing to children. Children can simply enjoy the texture of sand as they run their fingers through it and also have the freedom to make whatever it is they desire. From pouring sand into buckets to building castles and running cars or plastic animals through it, children gain the opportunity to explore their imagination and creativity.
Teachers and parents can encourage children’s involvement in sand play both at school and at home. There are different types of sand that children can play with. One very cool and fun type is homemade Moon Sand (also known as cloud dough). Although there are a variety of ways to make it, moon sand can be made with two simple ingredients: flour and baby oil. By mixing these two ingredients, moon sand not only has a great scent but is also moldable, safe, and fun! Getting children involved in helping make the sand can also be enjoyable for them. Moon sand is an easy activity that parents can do with their children at home and most importantly, it is exciting and lots of fun!
Moon Sand Recipe:
- 8 cups of flour
- 1 cup of baby oil
- If desired, add powder-based colors (i.e. powdered tempera paint or powdered drink mix)
How to make it:
- Pour the flour into a large bowl.
- Add any powder-based color into the flour and mix it.
- Add the baby oil to the flour and mix all the ingredients together.
- When the sand feels soft and moldable, it is ready to be used.
- Store the moon sand in air-tight container and it should last up to a month (add more baby oil if it dries up.)
Children in Room 4 having fun while playing with homemade moon sand:
Author: Adriana Gonzalez, CSULA Child Development Intern
All kids can have a hard time regulating their emotions and for some it can be tougher than others. As children get older, there could be numerous causes for their emotions and at times, it may seem like there’s no one cause at all. These five calming tools can help children (and parents!) in any situation.
Count to 5
This simple tool gives young children who are learning about impulse control a chance to stop and think before they act out their anger.
Take a deep breath
This relaxation technique can help children calm their bodies quickly.
Children need the validation that their feelings are important as well. Understanding and listening to the cause of their emotions can help address the situation.
Taking the time to listen to their feelings and perspectives not only helps the child feel
better but gives you, the parent, a better insight to the person they are becoming.
Ask for a hug
Most of the time, it’s something as simple as a hug that can make everything better.
Author: Joyce Olaer, CSULA Child Development Intern
Children enjoy playing with their buddies at school, but when children are at school, they often talk about their families. Children crave time with their parents and siblings and enjoy quality time with them. Playing together creates a bond that will last forever and will create a childhood that will be filled with a lifetime memories.
Family activities are great for the whole family. A fun family activity to do with your child is to make your own homemade Flubber. Children love to be part of the process of making Flubber. Flubber is similar to prefabricated “slime”, but the texture is a little different. Making your own flubber gives the child the opportunity to increase their sensory skills by feeling the texture: molding, squishing, and squeezing it between their fingers. Playing with Flubber also increases finger strength and dexterity, which helps with future writing strength. Children can play with flubber for hours! Not only will it be fun for your child, but you’ll probably find yourself playing right along with them! To make this awesome homemade flubber recipe you will need:
• 1/3 cup water
• 3 tablespoons of borax
• 2 cups of water
• 2 cups of white school glue
• Food Coloring
WHAT TO DO
• Add 1/3 cup water to bowl, then add the borax and stir until dissolved
• Next add the food coloring or Kool-Aid and set aside (be careful…food coloring stains)
• In another bowl, add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of school glue and stir until thoroughly mixed
• Add borax mix to the glue mix
• Next you will knead with your hands for approximately 5 minutes until the water is completely adsorbed. You will be able to tell when it is done.
• Make sure to ask your child open-ended questions while playing with the Flubber. For example, ask about the texture, the color, smell, how does it feel, compare it to different textures, etc.
• But most importantly, HAVE FUN!
• You are able to save the Flubber in a zip bag
Author: Cristina Gomez, CSULA Child Development Intern