We at LFMS are proud advocates of child exploration and sensorial education. Interestingly, much of Maria Montessori’s educational theories stemmed from the works of scholar Friedrich Fröbel and physicians Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard and Édouard Séguin, particularly in the area of sensory education. From these concepts, Montessori developed a curriculum that used experience and hands-on manipulation of materials rather than the typical direct instruction that were common practice in school.
Sensory education consists of hands-on activities that encourage a child to use their five senses in order to heighten their intellectual abilities. As a child uses their senses, they are actively participating in their own learning and are absorbing information from their environment. For example, the act of a child touching an object is a “building block for writing, just as looking will be essential to reading development, and is at the core of sensory education.” While, movement is essential to a child’s development and growth (Tomlin, n.d.).
As you can see, sensory play is a very important part of early childhood development and the summertime is the perfect time to enhance those sensory skills. Through sensory play, a child can discover and learn about their environment in a format that they enjoy the most – play time.
Below we’ve chosen a fun summer sensory activity that the kids are guaranteed to enjoy. A big hat tip to educational blogger Allison Sonnier at Learn Play Imagine for the great idea!
Water Balloons & Color Theory
A great summertime activity that also enhances sensory learning is playing with colored water-filled balloons in the play pool. Children thoroughly enjoy popping the balloons filled with colored water and watching the colors mix as the pool water changes colors.
This activity is super fun and easy to set up!
All you need are:
• Water balloons
• Balloon pumper
• Liquid water colors (or food coloring)
• Play pool
The first step is to fill the balloon pumper with water. Next, apply the liquid water colors into the balloons. Allison suggests that you first squirt the water colors into the balloon pump, or you can add a few drops directly into the balloons (which tends to be messier). She also recommends using fun, vibrant colors, such as yellow and red, to make the perfect summer-time color-combinations.
The third step is easy…have fun! Watch as your children pick up and drop the heavy water balloons into the pool to make a big splash, and witness their imagination flourish as they come up with interesting ways to try to pop the balloons. Children also enjoy observing the changing colors, as the balloon water colors mix and swirl with the pool water. Eventually, the pool water will gradually change into the most vibrant and beautiful colors!
Check out Allison’s blog for more fun, summer-time sensory activities to do at home! Also, don’t forget check out Little Flower’s array of great summertime activities that your children will fully enjoy! Find more information here.
Tomilin, C. Ross (n.d.). “Approaches to Learning: Maria Montessori” (Article). Retrieved from: http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=698