For the month of January, I have been sharing snow and ice theme activities, and the book, Katie and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton is a perfect fit for our winter weather fun. The story is about a snow plow, Katie, who saves a town by working hard to plow all the roads covered by a heavy snowstorm. I created a sensory story box to encourage my daughter to further develop her comprehension and imagination with the story.
-plastic bin with lid
-bag of Epsom salt (If child still puts things in mouth or rubs eyes a lot, only use this under adult supervision because it is not supposed to be eaten or will burn eyes.)
-paper from recycling bin
-vehicle to be used as snow plow (I didn't find any cheap toy plows online, so I went to Target and found a truck that looks like a snow plow for $3.)
-other accessories such as figurines, cars, cups, and spoons
-Make buildings by using empty food boxes. Stuff the box with crumpled paper from the recycling bin. Seal the box shut with tape and cover it with construction paper. Cut out windows and doors from construction paper. My four year old daughter glued on all the windows and doors, and helped with some cutting. Frugal Family Fun offers crafting tips for working with cardboard.
-Discuss which type of buildings are found in a city, and write each building's name on the box. We had a grocery store, post office, school, and hospital in our city. We made four buildings, but you could make more depending on the interests of your children.
-I created roads by cutting strips of black construction paper and covering them in contact paper. I found this step wasn't necessary as they got in the way of play, and my daughter mostly ignored them.
-Encourage your child to arrange the buildings inside the plastic bin.
-Bring out bag of Epsom salt for the snow. I have seen other blogs using epsom salt for sensory play, but I can't remember the exact source. Child creates snowstorm by pouring salt into bin. Discuss how the city is changing with all the snow.
-Talk about how the problem of the roads being covered in snow will be solved. Since we had read the book, my daughter immediately remembered that Katie could help plow the snow. Your child can develop his own solutions to the problem. Support imaginative thinking.
-At this point, your child will probably take the lead on how to play. I designed our box to allow for open ended play. I encourage her to develop different story lines than found in the book or just have fun manipulating the materials.
This story sensory box is a wonderful tool for preschoolers to integrate sensory play with literacy to make learning more engaging. My daughter continues to play with the box on her own, and has created different scenarios with the contents.
This post is linked up with The Play Academy at Nurture Store. Hop on over and join in the fun!