I had the opportunity to present a workshop at the North Carolina AEYC Conference this past week. It was a joy to meet with wonderful early childhood teachers in North Carolina. I always love visiting that beautiful state. No matter where I visit in the United States, there are early childhood teachers who want to provide the best possible experience for their children. Last week was no exception. The early childhood community continues to look for innovative and engaging ways to help children learn. Our group discussed using the sand and sensory tables to promote and support language and literacy development. I firmly believe that the sensory tables are not used enough in our classrooms. Some of the language and literacy ideas we discussed include:
- Forming letters of the alphabet with wet sand or dough
- Allowing children to create parts of stories using sand and props
- Having children use a scoop to find sponge letters floating in water
- Using a magnet wand to find magnetic letters hidden in sand
- Using dough to create another ending for a story
- Using sand on a cookie sheet or tray to form alphabet letters with your finger
The list was quite extensive and included many activities for use in the sensory table or center. These types of workshops serve as a reminder about how critical it is to engage children and keep learning exciting.