Taste-safe salt-sugar wintery snow sensory play-tray is a great way to promote language skills, hand-eye coordination and fine-motor control in children.
Sensory play is extremely important for children as it supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem-solving skills, and social interaction. As your child learns through play, s/he triggers multiple neurons when tactile, visual and language stimuli are sparked off! Besides, ‘learning’ trays, such as these Salt-Sugar Snow Play Trays, are generally easy to set up with materials you have handy. Most importantly, sensory small-world play-trays offer an opportunity for simple yet engaging activities that promote important developing skills such as fine motor and hand-eye coordination. For this taste-safe winter sensory play, I am using salt and sugar as a base/filler which makes this sensory invitation to play taste-safe. (Please, note that taste-safe does not mean edible.)
Did you know that combining the sense of touch with other senses such as vision, hearing, smell, and/or taste helps build cognitive skills? In fact, pediatricians now advocate for simultaneous multi-sensorial stimulation! The nervous system is multisensorial right from its early development stage when a toddler, for example, uses a sense of touch to explore the texture of food, smell and taste to identify it, and the vestibular sense to sit upright at a weaning chair during food offerings. In fact, hands-on learning through the power of sensory play happens all the time! Besides advancing fine motor skills, children also develop language, social interaction, and reasoning skills, as they strengthen neurological pathways within the developing brain! Sensory play also helps develop new synapses between neurons, leading to a lasting memory and brain agility! Thus, I pay homage to the power of sensory play!
Winter Forest Train Tracks Sensory Bin
Calling all transpiration fans to explore through the power of sensory play! Adrian is obsessed with everything that moves, trains in particular. So, adding train tracks and a moving locomotive inside our winter wonderland definitely adds a fun new twist to our sensory bin.
YOU’ ll NEED for this Taste-Safe Winter Sensory Play
- a play tray to contain everything and to make clean up easy
- coarse salt as ‘snow’
- to resemble a pond, I am using blue sugar crystals sprinkles in the middle
- animal figurines (moose, deer, fox)
- a train and tracks (buy a curved set of tracks here)
First, set up your train tracks. Adrian had to gather them and figure out how many would fit to make a circle. (You might see it as simple play, but math, geometry, and spatial reasoning skills are hard at work! During this wintery setup, your child has to figure out how to position the tracks inside the tray.) Thereafter, Adrian chose a battery-operated action train to run on the tracks. (You can use a regular train too! Trust me! So many muscles are at work when little hands push their favorite transportation around!) Lastly, offer your child to gather their favorite forest animals to reside in the winter-wonderland. (Use what you have!)
We also added some pond inhabitants we would generally meet during our nature walks. Do take this opportunity to discuss which animals hibernate in the winter, how animals adapt and which ones migrate. For example, we learned that Canadian geese migrate to North America, so that is why we see so many ducks and geese on a frozen lake.
Winter Snowflakes Crystals Sensory Bin
For this wintery play-tray set up, I am reusing the salt/sugar filler I used for the train play tray. But this time, I am adding a child-sized mini colander and a stainless steel flour sifter. (Since baking bread is not on a menu, at least Adrian can practice sieving salt, separating it from crystals.)
YOU’ ll NEED for this Salt-Sugar Snow Play Tray
- a large round metal tray (buy 16″ here or buy white here)
- for a filler, I am using coarse salt to resemble snow and blue sugar crystals sprinkles. (A note, use what you have: e.g. white sugar instead of salt, baking soda, flour.)
- a snowflake puncher
- a foam glitter paper
Offer your child spoons, scoops, jugs, transferring cups, along with a colander, and a sifter to mine those gems (‘blue sugar crystals’)! Although scooping, transferring and sieving is suggested for children 2 – 4 + years old who have developed fine motor skill efficiency, your baby will enjoy the texture of salt and sugar. Through such sensory play, your baby will be triggering multiple sensory stimuli despite being unable to sieve the gems. Exposing children early on to sensory play in any age-appropriate, child-driven environment is the key to building confidence, knowledge, and mastery.
I also punched out a few snowflakes out of foam glitter paper for some extra sparkle. If you have a preschooler, invite your child to count snowflakes or even turn it into a fun addition/subtraction game.
AGE 2 Y + Please, always supervise your child.
Sensory play, besides being fun for little ones is an amazing way to support language and cognitive development, motor control, and problem-solving skills. Please, do not underestimate the power of play! I hope you liked our Taste-Safe Winter Sensory Play. Please see HERE our entire Preschool Winter Unit Study.
Download my NEW eBOOK ~ The BASICS ~ Brining Montessori Home ~ Birth till 6 YO HERE
If you enjoy themed unit studies, check out below for some holiday-inspired activities!
February 2nd ~ Groundhog Day
See here Groundhog Day Activities
February 27th ~ International Polar Bear Day
See here International Polar Bear Day Activities
Also here you will find books we read for Polar Bear Unit Study
If you have missed our Holiday Inspired unit, see HERE a roundup of December activities in a Christmas Inspired Unit Study.
Also, for Valentine’s activities, see HERE Valentine’s Inspired Unit Study.
Lastly, for St. Patrick’s hands-on fun, see HERE St Patrick’s Day Kids Activities.