I’m still working on using our sensory table and not letting it become a wasted space. I have to say I feel pretty proud of myself! With the help of my co-teacher, we have had the sensory table filled with explorations just about every morning. I will admit that I have been slacking on letting the children help me set it up. I will start to work more on in the coming weeks.
Over all I think I like having water in the sensory table the best even though I have to sit next to the table to remind most of the children that the water stays in the table. Since, I like having water in the table I am starting to feel that this is what the children like best also. I’m trying to manage my projection while, at the same time remembering that the children might truly enjoy water in the sensory table. Through my observations, I believe that the children enjoy items like water, flax, beans or other materials that that can be poured, dumped or used to fill up cups. One thing I know about toddlers is that they love to fill and dump.
There are a few things that I have really been thinking about with the sensory table. Why does it matter if they put water on the floor or handfuls of beans/flax? It’s not hurting anyone or property so should I let them do it? But I also have to remember that I have rights too. Even though I could get the children to help clean up the materials from the floor, I just don’t want to be cleaning beans or flax from the nooks and crannies in our classroom for the rest of the year. I need to find some kind of a balance.
The other day I put water in the table and one child dumped the water onto the floor and stomped on it, almost as if creating their very own puddle. What a great idea! It tells me that maybe we need to do more puddle jumping outside. When I explained to the child that we keep the water in the table, while wiping it up with a towel, the child started to dump more water on the floor and then wipe it up on their own. I didn’t want to stop the child in their cleaning process but I’m just not sure where to draw the line. I did offer the children towels of their own thinking that this would interest them. A few of the children started dunking the towels into the water and shaking them out onto the floor. I expected this. It just defeats the purpose of having a dry towel to wipe up the water and soon safety became a concern. I want to have water in the table while at the same time not having to tell the children to not do something. Hmmmm maybe my expectations are a little off with the idea of toddlers and water? Please share your ideas! I have a feeling I will be thinking about this for a long time.