Towards the end of this past week, I decided to take out our cotton balls from the sensory table and add birdseed instead. Previously, we had cotton balls and tongs and scoops to explore. The children enjoyed this, but needed quite a bit of assistance to manipulate the tongs in order to pick up the cotton balls (and probably a better skill to work on at a different time of the school day). So, I kept many of the accessories: the heart shaped scoops, measuring cups and spoons, the red sifter, the red heart shaped bowls and the pink boxes; and simply swapped out the birdseed for the cotton balls.
The children CLEARLY enjoyed the change! Several children have spent long periods of time at the sensory table scooping, filling, pouring, and sifting birdseed! With past classes, we have seen a great deal of birdseed scattered across the floor when we've done this; but not with this class! Not yet, at least! Most of the birdseed has stayed in the table!
The children took the time to experiment with how full each bowl or box could become! One child experimented with what would happen when he flicked the scoop up in the air very fast! (This was pretty much our only birdseed on the floor!) Interestingly enough, he didn't continue doing this, but went back to scooping, filling and pouring the birdseed in the table!
Another child decided holding the birdseed in his hands and slowly letting it sprinkle out was more rewarding than scooping with cups and spoons! When we are finished using the birdseed in the sensory table, I generally would just sprinkle this outside for the birds.
However, I'm tempted this time to roll the whole darn sensory table outside and see what happens! I have a feeling the children may be more interested in watching the birds eat the birdseed directly out of the sensory table! Then again, I'm not sure I want to CLEAN the sensory table after THAT experiment!