There’s nothing I love more than when I set out with a particular goal in mind for learning through play and the activity ends up as something else entirely. This happens quite a lot actually! For some time now I have been planning on making a DIY version of the Montessori sandpaper letters and sand tray. All good in theory, but the mere thought of having to cut 26 letters from sandpaper is enough to make my hand ache, and then of course my OCD would not let me stop there. I would need to create a set in upper case as well, and a set of numbers…..
So, as a shorcut, I thought we could make something like this. I planned on filling a zip lock bag with shaving cream with some food colouring added for fun. We would then practise writing our letter of the week in the shaving foam.
As much as possible, I try to involve R(3) with setting up our activities. So, rather than simply present him with the prepared writing bag, I asked him if he would like to help me colour the shaving foam. R had never touched shaving foam before, a fact which is quite surprising given how much sensory play we do around here. It had just never ocurred to me to use it before. He was squealing with laughter as he sprayed the foam from the can and into the bowl I had set out for him. Shaving foam is a fantastic sensory experience for kids. They can watch it expand and grow at it squirts out of the can, they can slide the smooth mess between their fingers, making shapes and mounds with the frothy gloop, and they can smell the aroma if it is a scented foam.
We added some blue and red food colouring and R had fun creating the gorgeous marbelling of colours that you see in the picture above.
It was then that I realised we would not be making a letter writing bag that day! That shaving foam was going over hands, up arms and underneath finger nails, NOT in a zip lock bag!
We may not have had any literacy lessons that day but we had a lesson in science instead…..and a whole lot of MESSY fun!