In today's preschool classrooms, teachers are obliged to prepare learners for a wide variety of experiences. Not only do learners need to be introduced to academic setting but should be provided with the proper learning environment for social and cultural norms (Dunn 609). Teachers should know learner's capabilities. In the classroom, creativity is a priority. It is critical to making sure that each activity is fresh and exciting. Typically, curriculum programs address social, physical, and cultural development, language arts, art, and literacy. In art and sensory activities, the focus is on how to develop and improve gross and fine motor skills of preschoolers. Sensory activities are things involving the use of senses such as taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing (Dunn 610). Such activities are engaging, fun, and easy to put together. On the other hand, art activities include painting, stamping, drawing, or making collages that allow kids to express themselves creatively. The teacher should emphasize corporative and collaborative learning in which learners are allowed to use all their senses to explore and discover their environment, develop their creative thinking and imagination, and enhance their ability to solve problems.
There are a number of activities or materials that should be considered for art and sensory activities. Kids can engage in messy play giving them endless ways to learn and develop (Lawson & Winnie 3). For sensory play opportunities, Homemade Rubbery Goop is a perfect choice as it is safe and non-toxic. The substance is smooth and soft. Molding it is very addictive and offers much fun to the kid. Homemade Rubbery Goop enhances creativity and imagination. It also enhances the sensory development of the sense of touch. During the play, kids can use descriptive language boosting their oral language development. Moreover, homemade rubbery goop can enhance fine motor development and hand-eye coordination (Lawson & Winnie 4). Normally, it is the role of the teacher to ensure that learners are safe at all times. Learners should be advised to avoid eating play materials because some are toxic.
When engaging in sensory exploration with the sand, some of the materials that are used include funnel, scoops, small plastic bottles, bottle tops, spoons, and cupboard tubes. During the play, children scoop up the different colored sands and fill each of the bottle tops matching the colors. Play with sand enhances language development. It also enhances the development of fine motor skills. The activity promotes creativity and imagination since learners will have to match different colored sands with bottle tops presented.
In creative sand art play, kids use their own ideas to create their own landscape using sand, glue, and wool. By engaging in sand art play, learners will be able to build their self-esteem. Moreover, sand art play enables kids to communicate art ideas, overcome challenges and problem-solving, enhance spatial awareness, and recognize colors. Another sensory art activity that kids should take part in is painting with a balloon. The activity allows children to explore imaginatively and creatively since they will be able to use simple props in an unstructured way (Blaskovic & Ana 275). By using their hands to manipulate the balloons and paints to create patterns, kids will enhance their creativity and imagination skills.
Using foods to play is insensitive. By filling the sensory table with food, children will learn that materials are abundant and not of any great value. At preschool age, children need to learn about their world in a real way before they are ready to grasp the bigger issues in life. In as much as kids need first-hand experiences before they build an understanding of the preservation of food, it is prudent to teach them from an early age that wastefulness is bad. Many cultures keep food sacred and separate from other activities. Making games of the meal is all part of learning to enjoy the food. Some kids will make it a norm to eat play materials presented by the teacher. They might end up eating toxic substances that might have a long time effect on their lives.
In the preschool classroom, art and sensory are so critical because they engage the child's senses (Lawson & Winnie 7). Different activities shape the choices of kids, impact their behavior, and help them make sense of the surrounding world. Certain scientific processes in play help the brain to function well. Art and sensory build language skills and exposes young people to new vocabulary (Blaskovic & Ana 280). By learning adaptive play with others, children will develop their social interactions and development. As children grow, their art-making activities move beyond exploring with their senses and start to involve the use of symbols in which they will represent real objects, events, and feelings in their artwork (Lawson & Winnie 10). In this case, drawing becomes an activity that allows them to symbolize what they feel. As kids learn how to make parts fit together into a whole, they will be in a position to coordinate what they see with the movement of their hands. The eye-hand coordination is critical for a number of activities including letter formation and word spacing. Teachers should recognize that kids express their ideas through art (Vick 10). In this regard, they should support kid's learning through activities in which children make art and enjoy the art of their peers and people around them.
For kids with disability and developmental delays, sensory experiences can be overwhelming. It is the role of the teacher to modify games and activities for these children. Expressive art awakens the imagination and creativity of the disabled and helps them discover who they are and how to engage senses (Case-Smith &Teresa Bryan 489). Art and sensory activities impact the mindset positively and bring a sense of calm to the body. By painting, kids experiencing developmental delays will have a safe outlet for negative emotions. This is likely to improve the growth process (Case-Smith &Teresa Bryan 490). Normally, most disabled kids are not much comfortable in their social settings. They find it difficult to establish a connection. Art and sensory activities will enhance their social development by providing support without judgment from peers and other people. This will give the disabled kids the opportunity to appreciate differences between people (Case-Smith &Teresa Bryan 491). Since most arts can be practiced in groups where learners will have to work together, there will be in a position to share and accept responsibility for how their actions affect others.
Reducing the size of the play area will enable the physically and emotionally challenged learners to have a small space to interact with each other. The teacher should also modify the rules because these learners may not respond to certain activities like normal children. Basic modifications can be made in books, painting, and drawing. The teacher should observe the disabled learners discover what interests each and get ideas about what might motivate them. Each kid brings a unique set of experience and skills hence the need to take into consideration individual differences.
To promote art and sensory activities, there is a need to emphasize creative development, creative play, and creative activities such as music, dance, and movement. Young people always want to play alone. However, at times, an adult's guidance is always necessary. When an adult actively takes part in what the child is doing, it will be possible to observe the child's skills and understand their potential even more. Promoting art and sensory activities requires the teacher to use simple materials that can stimulate the child's imagination. Such materials include books, CDs, sound makers, and wooden blocks.
Art and sensory activities have a number of benefits including building nerve connection in the brain which leads to a child's ability to complete complex tasks (Case-Smith &Teresa Bryan 496). Also, the activities support language development, cognitive growth, social interaction, fine and gross motor skills, and problem-solving skills. Moreover, they aid in developing and enhancing memory. Naturally, art is linked to creativity, an attribute that is important for the success of an individual.
From the articles, some of the ideas and concepts presented reflect what a teacher should strive to achieve. The information will enable me to work towards my long-term goal which is to create an environment where learners feel a sense of belonging and can engage in any activity. Since solutions to major problems in life are linked to creativity, I will emphasize the need for the learners to model and use their abilities to complete complex tasks.
Blaskovic, Jelena, and Ana Kulis. "Preschool Children's Reactions to Active Music Listening through Movement, Visual Arts, and Verbal Expression." Croatian Journal of Education: Hrvatski casopis za odgoj I obrazovanje 19.Sp. Ed. 3 (2017): 273-292.
Case-Smith, Jane, and Teresa Bryan. "The effects of occupational therapy with sensory integration emphasis on preschool-age children with autism." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 53.5 (1999): 489-497.
Dunn, Winnie. "The sensations of everyday life: Empirical, theoretical, and pragmatic considerations." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 55.6 (2001): 608-620.
Lawson, L. Mische, and Winnie Dunn. "Children's sensory processing patterns and play preferences." Annual in Therapeutic Recreation 16 (2008): 1-14.
Vick, Randy M. "A brief history of art therapy." Handbook of art therapy (2003): 5-15.
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