Friday, 26 June 2015

Sensory Lessons from A Smurf Village

My six-year old has discovered Smurfs through a game app on her iPad (hello, new generation!).  She plans her little village and checks it everyday like a master planner.  Before she sleeps at night she has to have "one last check to collect resources, pleeeease mommy"  

 You know how the experts say to follow your child's interests, right?  In a sneaky #playforreal plan, I "suggested" she take a break from her iPad and make her own Smurf village.  

Her eyes lit up and we got planning!

I rolled out our trusty sensory drawer bin, and brought it to her room (my house has been a huge decluttering project mess in the other areas lately).  Looking around for materials and thinking aloud, I grabbed some tree stumps from her nature corner and asked her what we can use for the roofs.  

Nowadays I see that she's changing into a new stage of interests and just as I suspected when she turned two, I'm observing this changing person and am trying to follow her lead again. 
Playdoh was her answer to roofs.  These were materials gathered in a minute flat!

I suppose this foot in the rice was inevitable - she loves doing it - but I was still surprised that our sensory bin was still going strong even if she is a little past the pre-school age:

 I let her brainstorm with me how we would make the details of huts, and after rummaging through our always-accessible craft shelf she found some matchsticks:

And they became the doors:

Mixed some pink for Smurfette's hut:

And put the little village together: we don't even have Smurf toys and it was fine!  She enjoyed planning how to make Smurfs and a village square but we never got back to it.  This would keep happening:

  She just loved running her hands through the rice over and over in the middle of fixing the village.

Progress after half an hour - this is a really nice peaceful and easy wind-down activity after school days.

The village is all done with no Smurf figures but that didn't stop her from playing pretend and just enjoying her sense of sight and touch at the bin,  She would murmur stories quietly to herself while running her hands through the rice:

I caught her having quiet time like this even after our play time and dinner was done, just before our bedtime bath.  I thought she was over the sensory stage but its magic lives on in a different way this time.

In this case, our sensory bin was a calming moment that didn't have to resort to an iPad.  I think we need a lot of those after school nowadays.   Big school makes kids grow up so fast that sometimes simple sensory play can be the perfect therapy to just be a child.

  Before, she learned the about the world through sensory play.
Today, it's teaching her the peaceful joy of just being in the moment.

Don't grow up too fast, Ladybug Girl.

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See how our sensory bin was made and get play ideas here:

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