Exploring large sunflowers is part of our curriculum each year with our preschoolers. We start in the spring by planting mammoth sunflowers. The preschoolers take them home and plant them in their yards. We often get photos of the children proudly standing beside their sunflowers throughout the summer, as the plants grow much taller than them. After we start our new school year, we ask our preschool families if they’d like to cut and bring their mammoth sunflowers to class. We set up our science area and read books about sunflowers. We place the sunflowers on a table and remove the seeds with strawberry hullers and tweezers. We then use those sunflower seeds to make sunflower art. During this entire sunflower unit, we have a fun sunflower sensory table that I will show you here. It’s a favorite with both our 2 and 3 year olds!
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
What we used in our sensory bin:
- small terra cotta pots
- rice that has been dyed yellow (read how Jackie dyes hers here)
- dried black beans
- silk sunflowers
- empty sunflower seed packets
- your choice of small scoops
Setting it up:
Our sensory table is located near the entrance of our classroom. It’s a great way to invite the children into the room. It’s especially comforting for those who might be having a difficult time with transitioning into the classroom after saying goodbye to family.
Our 2s and 3s loved this sensory table as soon as they arrived.
Pouring is always a favorite. The scoops were used a lot, but the hands were just as involved. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times one of the 2 year olds brought me a fistful of rice and beans so I could see.
I have mentioned in other posts how 2 year olds love to pour. The farther the distance, the better. When we see them start to pour the materials onto the floor, we grab a box lid. Why say no when you can offer them an alternative? And, I admit, the sound of the rice falling a greater distance is pretty cool.
Not only did they pour the rice and beans into the box lid, but then they took fists of rice and released them into the box lid.
And then, they bent down and felt the rice and beans. Oh, the smiles on their faces!
This was out all week. And loved! We will pack it up on Friday and start a fresh sensory bin on Monday. Wondering how to store your sensory materials? I thought this looked pretty cool and want to give it a try!
Here are some other ways we’ve enjoyed our sensory table:
Sunflower Picture Books (click on photo for affiliate link):
Other Sunflower Activities:
Sunflower Card (Education.com)
Sunflower Paper Plate Craft (SheKnows)
Sunflower Suncatcher Craft (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
Sunflower Playdough (FSPDT)
Sunny Sunflower Marshmallow Pops (All Free Kids Crafts)
Coffee Filter Sunflowers (The Imagination Tree)
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