We’ve had clay at our Mud Pies Nature Playgroup in Perth for a while now. It’s been a fantastic sensory experience. It’s slippery, sloshy and squelchy sometimes and other times it is solid and firm requiring strong finger muscles to manipulate it. Perth is such a sandy place that our young children rarely get to play in real mud that sticks to your skin.
Down at the river foreshore some of the children like to mix sand into the clay and see how the texture changes to a cleaner but still mouldable medium. We have parents and grandparents that sit next to their children for ages, just sitting and moulding with the clay, soaking in the new tactile texture and relaxing with the peaceful repetition.
As nature educators we are always observing the children and wondering what we can do to extend an exploration. Last week, I had brought along cornflour and food colouring to make paint but instead I wondered what would happen if we mixed the cornflour with the clay. Would this provide a new texture for the children to experience? Have they seen oobleck before? What would a hybrid of oobleck and clay become? I start mixing up some oobleck with some keen kids who enjoy the opportunity to mix. Some are straight into getting sticky, messy hands and others watch for awhile, a little more cautious.
The children want to mix more things together so this is a great opportunity to suggest mixing in some clay. The result was great! The clay became fluffy! A whole new product and a whole new sensory experience was born.
Multi-sensory experiences are incredibly important for developing neural pathways in young children. This is why we provide tactile opportunities at our Mud Pies Nature Playgroup. For session details and bookings visit www.trybooking.com/JTNJ.
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