Preschool Playtime: Deep Sea Theme (February 15, 2012)
Meets Wednesday Mornings from 9:15-10AM
Each session of Preschool Playtime has a fun theme which distracts the children enough to not realize all the hard work they are accomplishing with their large muscle, fine motor, and sensory work. Today, our theme was Deep Sea!
Today the children and I learned about animals that live under the sea. Each child picked a sea animal out of a bag, using their hands to feel for a card with an animal on it. After learning the names of each sea animal, the children counted how many legs each animal had. We learned that some sea animals have 8 legs (octopus) while others only had two legs (seal).
In the gym, the children worked on developing their muscles while crawling through a tunnel searching for their matching sea animal. The children then used their eye and hand coordination to throw fish (bean bags and weighted ball) into the sea (target area). Picking up the weighted balls required greater arm and
hand strength than the bean bags, so the work was rotated.
Once all the fish were swimming in the sea, the children went fishing! Some children went in the boat swing while others sat in a tire swing on the floor or leaned over a bolster on their stomach.
The children in the swing worked on core strength and balance as they sat upright in the swing as is moved side to side. The children in the tire also worked on balance and core strength as they sat high up on their knees and reached over the tire to retrieve fish with a magnetic fishing rod. The children leaning over the bolster worked their back and neck muscles which contribute to greater posture and core stability. With weight bearing on their hands, the children strengthened their arms as they tried to keep their body off the ground.
Fishing, the children used their eye hand coordination to match the magnet on the fishing line with the magnet on the fish. They also had to finely control the movement of their arm and wrist to make sure they could hover the fishing line right over the fish! The children used bilateral hand coordination as they held the fishing rod with one hand and took the fish off the line with the other hand.
Before we left the gym, the children jumped into the ocean! The children had to maintain their balance on one foot and then the other as they climbed up two steps to the top of a mat. Next, the children practiced jumping by bending their knees and pushing off the ground with their feet into a pile of fluffy mats! Crashing in a safe space helped the children regulate their arousal level by, in essence, waking up their nervous system with a sudden jolt (falling onto the mats).
Now the children were ready to play in the sand box! Each child used a shovel to pick up shells by controlling the movement of their wrist to scoop and dump the shells into a bucket. Using a gross grasp on the shovel, the children transported heavy shells and sand, increasing hand strength. Some children preferred to use their hands to feel the sand, meeting their sensory need to explore through touch.
At the fine motor table, the children found sea objects in rice, beans and sand. All of the children used their sense of touch to feel for the sea objects in the mix of different textures (rice, sand, beans). Then the children used their fingers to pinch each sea objects individually and place it into a bottle filled with water. The children showed off the “Sea in a Bottle” and shared what objects they had decided to place in their bottle.
The children were happy to be able to take a little bit of the sea home with them!