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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sensory Ignorance

Almost every preschool around is equipped with a sensory table. It is a place designed for little hands to explore, sort, squish, pour, mix, dig, and get messy. Sensory tables can be filled with a wide range of curiousity evoking products such as water, shaving cream, oatmeal, rice, pasta, sand, leaves, cotton balls, buttons, and packing peanuts. These simple concoctions have created hours of entertainment for toddlers and preschoolers.

Having a fireball of a toddler, I am always looking for different ways to entertain as an effortless way to avoid the upcoming terrible two's behavior. As our nightly activity together I decided to make a sensory box for Cailyn. I got out a plastic container and filled it full of pasta and threw in some measuring cups, spoons, and tupperware to help aid in Piaget's theory of conservation.

Excited to see Cailyn's reaction to her nightly activity, I brought it into the living room and sat down with her to watch as she made her discoveries. Initially, she cautiously poked around in the noodles as if she thought they would stick to her chubby fingers. I then showed her how to play in the container using the tupperware and measuring spoons.

She thrived at this discovery.

She played around like this for about 10 minutes. She scooped, poured, sifted, and dug. I was proud of my accomplishment. As I began to fold laundry, her curiousity got the best of her and she learned that she can scoop the noodles up and pour them onto the carpet.

After teaching her to pick them back up and play with them only in the container, I mistakenly thought she understood and I would be able to attend to my wailing infant. As I sit nursing my ailing son, I helplessly watch as my malicious toddler takes the container full of hands-on fun and dumps it all over the coffee table.

So much for her understanding that the pasta stays in the container. I finish satisfying Bryce and then show Cailyn once again how to pick up the pieces and put them back in the container. She complies with my request.... But only for a short time....

Finally, she shows me how simple it is to entertain an ambitious 23 month old. Instead of creating a sensory container, all I really needed to create empty container .

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