Story by Senior Occupational Therapist, Justine
We have welcomed many new children to Johnson House recently, and the Johnson House team have been working hard to develop relationships with the children and to engage them in a range of learning experiences. One of the activities the children have been enjoying is the exploration of sensory-based experiences. Over the coming weeks we aim to be exploring all seven sensory systems, starting with the tactile sense. The tactile sense is the ability to interpret information coming into the body through the skin. It uses receptors in the skin to receive touch sensations like pressure, vibration, movement, temperature and pain.
After previously exploring uncooked rice, we are now feeling out corn kernels. Like uncooked rice, this is a texture that sits on the ‘drier’ side of the spectrum – it doesn’t stick to the skin or leave any residue, and can easily be brushed off when it comes into contact with the skin. This helps support children who may feel uncomfortable with ‘wetter’ textures such as slime, goop etc. The children have really enjoyed this experience, and have been revisiting it throughout the week. We look forward to continuing to plan and implement a range of sensory-based experiences in the Johnson House program.
Story by Educator Dalia
The children in Murray House infants’ room have enjoyed watching the fish swimming around in the fish tank, pointing excitedly and saying “Fish swim!” Following on from this interest, we added books with sea creatures to the learning space, and invited the children to explore the images of whales, turtles, sharks, octopus etc. The children’s favorite book has been Who’s Swimming in the Ocean, by Lydia Watson. This book introduces the children to life beneath the waves, with an interactive mix of visual sliders, flaps and fold-outs on every page that help develop children’s hand-eye coordination. This interest was supported by setting up a table with familiar sea creatures from the books read with the children. The children were eager to explore the sea creatures as they pretended they were swimming in the water, and the children talked about the different sizes of sea creatures and related the small and big shark to the Baby Shark song.
This experience encouraged the children to manipulate the materials provided, building up their fine motor skills and coordination through their senses. Water play promotes sharing, turn-taking, social interaction and communication skills.
Story by Educator Jung
This week, the children in Murray House toddlers enjoyed playing in the mud pit. Mud play is perfect for those children who love getting involved in messy play and to explore, especially in hot weather.
All of the children participated in making mud. They filled watering cans it with water and poured the water into the mud pit to turn it all gooey. When the mud was ready, the children took off their shoes and socks all jumped in! They jumped in the mud puddle and splashed around. Some children sat down and engaged in pretend play, ‘cooking’ with the mud. Some children were a little unsure, and needed a little encouragement to take part in this activity.
Many researchers say that mud play is healthy and beneficial for children, as it can help them to develop across a range of domains, including physical, emotional, cognitive and emotional skills. To children, mud is beneficial, engaging and, most importantly, fun!