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Icy Minty Exploration

Inviting children to explore their senses is not only a great way for children to enjoy some water play with herbs from the garden it incorporates nature within their experience. Our senses are the gateway for all learning.

Smell is closely linked to the oldest limbic part of the brain. A baby's sense of smell plays an important part in their development from the time they are in the womb. Often we take a baby’s sense of smell for granted. A good sniff is integral to how humans understand and learn about their world. Developing their sense of smell through play will help expose them to a myriad of experiences that will possibly make them more familiar and accepting of foods. Smell is particularly linked to food because it is deeply tied to how humans experience flavor.

This invitation was set to explore the herb mint. We picked mint from our garden, froze some bunches, and placed loose pickings freely or in water. Tools to enhance the filling and pouring were jumbo droppers, condiment bottles filled with green liquid water colors, bowls, cups and recycled bottles in the sensory bin.

Invitations to explore natural materials, ice and water fosters creativity and enables children to experiment with science and math concepts. Children begin to understand and investigate with ideas such as more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than. Children also learn physics principles such as the effects of force (increasing the waterflow through increased force); effects of gravity (water runs downhill) etc. Children gain physical learning through water play, such as precision in pouring, eye-hand coordination, and other skills. Exploring with water is captivating, engaging, engrossing and absorbing to almost all children.

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