Sensory play is a great way for children to improve their fine motor skills, language and communication skills, social and emotional skills, and so much more. And what better way to engage in sensory play than with a sensory kit that is both fun and educational? That's where the Duck Pond Sensory Kit comes in.
The Duck Pond Sensory Kit is designed to inspire children's imagination and creativity while providing opportunities for hands-on exploration and learning. The kit includes blue sensory sand, several little rubber ducks, sticks, lily pads, rocks, aquarium plants, a sand tool, as well as the book This Way, Ruby by Jonathan Emmett.
When it comes to play, I am a huge advocate for encouraging our children to take the lead. I strongly believe Broccoli Boxes sensory kits (and any sensory play) are best used when the child takes the lead, going wherever their imagination takes them. However, I also completely understand that there are times when it can be fun to help guide the play in a new direction or you may need to help your child get started. Below you will find many educational play ideas that incorporate the Duck Pond Sensory Kit and highlight the benefits of sensory play for children's development. This is not an exhaustive list and isn’t meant to be printed and checked off as you go (but it certainly can if that works for you).
Educational Play Ideas for Sensory Play
- Fine Motor Skills Activities
- Use the sand tool to create patterns in the blue kinetic sand.
- Use the provided castle to build structures for your pond.
- Use the sticks to build structures with the rocks.
- Add tongs from the kitchen and pick up the rubber ducks to improve hand-eye coordination.
- Pinching and grasping objects with fingers: Encourage your child to pick up and hold the small objects in the sensory kit, such as rocks or aquarium plants, using their fingers. This can help develop their finger strength and coordination.
- Literacy Activities
- Read the book “This Way, Ruby” by Jonathan Emmett while your child plays with the sensory kit. Ask questions about the story and encourage your child to retell it in their own words.
- Use the sticks to practice writing letters and numbers in the blue kinetic sand.
- Explore the pond ecosystem in this book through the illustrations and text. Engage your child in what they notice and whether they have experienced a pond before. What was the same? What was different?
- Discuss the problem in the story. Why do you think this story is called “This Way, Ruby!”? You can also ask your child how they think Ruby felt when her siblings were telling her where to go.
- Explore the different ways the author displays the text in the story. For example, the words are written as waves on one page.
- Storytelling with the book "This Way, Ruby": Read the book to your child and then use the sand tool to create scenes from the story in the kinetic sand. Encourage your child to retell the story using the sand as a backdrop.
- Letter recognition with rocks: Write letters on the rocks and encourage your child to find the letters in their name or spell simple words with the rocks.
- Sensory letter formation: Encourage your child to use the sand tool to practice forming letters in the kinetic sand. They can also use their finger to draw letters in the sand.
- Math Activities
- There are five ducks in the box and five ducks in the story. What a great opportunity to practice addition and subtraction! For example, start with one duck in the box and then add another. Ask “how many ducks are in the pond now?” Then add two more. “How many ducks are there now? What if three ducks left? How many would remain in the pond?”
- Sensory sorting: Sort the objects in the sensory kit into different categories based on their texture or material. For example, put all the smooth objects together and all the rough objects together. This activity can help with vocabulary development and sensory exploration.
- Measuring with sticks: Use the sticks to measure the length and width of objects in the sensory kit. For example, ask your child to measure the length of the rubber ducks or the width of the lily pads.
- Estimating with sand: Encourage your child to estimate how much sand can fit into different containers or molds. They can then fill the containers or molds with sand to check their estimates.
- Counting ducks: Line up the rubber ducks and ask your child to count them. You can also ask them to count the ducks in different groups or pairs.
- Adding and subtracting with the sensory kit: Use the objects in the sensory kit to create addition and subtraction problems. For example, ask your child to add up the total number of ducks and rocks or to subtract the number of rocks from the number of sticks.
- Art and Music Activities
- Use the sticks, rocks, and lily pads to create a miniature pond scene.
- Use the rubber ducks to make a music band. Encourage your child to tap the ducks together to make different sounds and rhythms.
- Rock painting: Provide your child with paint and brushes and encourage them to paint designs or patterns on the rocks. They can use the rocks to make their own story stones or create a rock garden.
- Science Activities
- Learn about habitats and ecosystems by creating a miniature pond scene with the aquarium plants and rocks.
- Use the scoop to build and deconstruct pond banks. Build the pond ecosystem - an ecosystem includes the animals, plants, and insects of an area along with all of the non-living things such as water, dirt, rocks, and the sun.
- Play “I Spy” with the different items that can be found in/near a pond. “I spy something that needs sunlight to grow.” “I spy something that quacks!”
- Nature hunt: Take a walk outside with your child and collect sticks, rocks, and leaves. Bring them back inside and use them to create a nature scene in the sand. Encourage your child to use their imagination to tell a story about the scene.
- Sink or float experiment: Fill a container (or the sink or bathtub) with water and encourage your child to predict whether each item in the sensory kit will sink or float. Then test their predictions by placing each item in the water.
- Social and Emotional Activities
- Use the rubber ducks to teach your child about empathy and kindness. Encourage your child to take care of the ducks and give them "baths" in the sensory kit.
- Use the sand tool to create a calming and relaxing sensory experience for your child. Encourage them to take deep breaths and focus on the texture of the sand.
Sensory play is a fun and engaging way for children to learn and develop their senses. The Duck Pond Sensory Kit is a great way to incorporate sensory play into your child's playtime. With the blue kinetic sand, rubber ducks, sticks, lily pads, rocks, aquarium plants, sand tool, and the book “This Way, Ruby” by Jonathan Emmett, you can create a variety of educational play ideas for your child. From fine motor skills activities to science experiments and social and emotional development, the possibilities are endless.