Sand, Snow, and Soil: A Day of Science and Sensory Fun
Sometimes I plan out a day of homeschool and it doesn’t go as expected. Sometimes it may be because emotions spiral out of control, but once in a while it’s because we find a new path that is so much more fun. We started our Friday with our usual plans, but my youngest needed something to keep her busy while my son did his math. We got out the kinetic sand and she smushed and sifted happily. She started using her teacups to make little balls of sand and she thought that was pretty amazing. So I set off to find a few other items she could scoop and shape with. I found a play ice cream cone and then remembered our Place and Trace from Discovery Toys. I got out all the shapes for her and it soon turned into a two-child frenzy of making dinosaurs, rabbits, bicycles, and cars.
While they were playing with the sand I remembered a recipe I had seen on a Facebook post to make pretend snow with baking soda and hair conditioner. So I double checked the measurements and made a bowl of snow. The recipe from Huckleberry Love says to combine 2 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of conditioner. It was easy to mix but I thought the consistency was a little wet. I only had one box of baking soda, but I wished I had extra to see if I could make it a little more dry and flaky. The snow stuck to their fingers a lot, but they both enjoyed taking turns playing with it and making “snowballs”.
Finally we moved on to get a little science in for the day and headed out to the backyard. We had a soil comparison experiment scheduled so we got our shovels and dug samples of dirt from various parts of the yard: one from the grass, one from the flower bed, one from the garden, and one from the rocky dirt under the tree. With magnifying glasses and digging fingers the kids explored the differences in the soils and the kinds of things they found in each sample. While the little one mostly played, my son filled out his data pages in his science book.
While sand and snow weren’t in the schedule that day, they were a welcome addition to break up the routine. What kinds of activities do you do to break up the routine? Do you have any favorite sensory or hands-on activities that we should try? Please share your ideas with us!