Sensory Activities for Preschoolers
1. Create a visual prop to help children understand the increasing daylight. It can be very simple and need not be scientific: Make several small, construction paper suns (or have children make them). Hang up a dark-colored piece of paper on the wall or bulletin board. Tell the children that each sun represents 1 minute of daylight. Explain that as we get closer to Easter, we get to see the sun a little more each day. To give them a better understanding of the amount of time you are speaking of, you may want to have children try to sit quietly for one whole minute.Once a week, calculate how many minutes have been gained during that week. Tell the children, have them pick out the appropriate number of suns and hang them on the dark paper.2. As you near Easter, the number of suns should create a bright color over the dark colored background. Talk about this. Then tell children that one of our names for Jesus is “the Light of the World”. Together, create a large sun. Make it ‘fancy’—use glitter and glittery ribbons, metallic streamers, etc. Soon after Easter, replace the small chart with the large, beautiful sun. Tell children it is there to help you all remember that Jesus is the Light of the World.3. If you have some children who understand numbers and their values, you can work with them on this in a more detailed way: make a simple bar chart where they record the increased minutes by coloring sections in yellow to represent the minutes of sunlight.
1. Place 3 or 4 bean seeds on a wet paper towel in a pie plate. Keep moistened. As the seeds begin to sprout, have children observe that the seed diminishes and dies, so that the ‘new life’ of the bean plant can begin.2. Then take this one step further into a Lenten theme. Provide a container that is like a window box. Fill it with potting soil and place in a warm and sunny place. Near it, leave a bowl of bean seeds. Tell the children that every time they do a good deed, they can plant a seed.3. As beans tend to grow quickly, you will soon have a garden of ‘good deed seeds’ growing into new life. The children are bringing ‘new life’ to the classroom by their kindnesses. And of course, this is how Jesus teaches us to treat one another!4. When the children are not present make certain to keep the seeds moist but not too wet. If a seed is not totally immersed into the soil, poke it further in. If some plants appear to be dying, pull them up and replant another seed. You do not want common gardening problems ruining your symbolism!