Jul 10, 2014

Ocean Life Sensory Small World

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We have been focusing on the Ocean/Beach this past week, and what a great time it is to do so! We have been spending a lot of time outdoors in the pool and sandbox, and K is quite smitten with ocean creatures right now. To kick off our unit, I created this 3-in-1 Ocean Life Sensory Small World using three different sensory mediums: our very favorite Kinetic sand , water dyed blue using Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Color Tablets , and a mixture of water beads. I separated them into three different containers and then put them all together in one large bin. For the animals, I added our Schleich Giant Turtle (not technically a sea turtle, but K didn't mind!), a sea turtle toy that his Tanta gave him with a hard shell and soft body parts, and the whales from his Animal Planet Polar Playset

As I was making the bin, K couldn't control his excitement. He ran to the kitchen sat down and yelled excitedly, "I sit, I sit!! Turtles and whales. Turtles and whales!!!!" It was too cute!

K was SO excited to dive in! (no pun intended) He pointed at each animal and named them before he started playing. Then he got right into his pretend play. He has been really using his imagination and having toys interact with each other lately, so it was fun to watch him. He examined each of the animals in their own habitats first. Then, he invited all the whales into the blue water to play together.

The turtles in the sand habitat were pretty new to him, so he had fun examining them and playing with them for a bit. After so many recent activities with our kinetic sand , K is becoming as big a fan of it as Mama! We spent a little bit of time making sand castles for the turtles to live in and towers that Kingston could smash down with the turtles.

I love his sweet little face in this picture!

As he got more involved with exploring the different sensory tubs, we talked about how sea turtles primarily live in the water and come up to the beach to lay their eggs. After I told him this, he moved his turtles into the water.

Then he turned his attention to the water beads! This was the very first time that he has played with water beads on their own. We added them to our Counting Bugs Water Bin recently, but playing with water beads in the water is MUCH different than the feeling of them on their own. He couldn't stop running his fingers through them. He got quite the fine motor workout picking them up and trying to squeeze them. We practiced bouncing them, and then we spent a ton of time throwing them into the water and fishing them out.

K was so intrigued that the water beads completely disappeared from sight when thrown into the blue water. We spent a lot of time bouncing and throwing the beads into the water and then fishing them to put them back into the other tub.

At one point, we had beads flying everywhere and this little diaper dude racing to retrieve them and put them back!

This has to be my absolute favorite picture of the day! He was splashing in the water, and was so excited that I got a shot of his excited hands/muscles/I'm cold pose!

And of course, more digging for water beads..

It wouldn't be a sensory play activity without letting your toes explore right?! Kingston loved splashing his toes in the water and squishing the water beads between them.

We played and explored this sensory small world for just about 2 HOURS!! 2 hours for a toddler activity is almost a lifetime. He loved it SO much. I'm excited to check out more ocean life over the next couple of weeks with my little explorer!

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  1. This looks like a lot of fun! I love that you had the three separate bins :)

    1. Thank you so much Yuliya! It helped to keep the different mediums separate and also helped him focus on the different worlds! :)