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We have twin girls who have just reached the age for preschool “work,” so I wanted to share the space that I’ve created for them to explore and learn. This is a part of our office/homeschool room that is specifically for them and contains a great deal of sensory materials and hands-on activities. I consider our approach as a mix of Montessori/Waldorf and Unschooling at this age. I follow their lead on what they are ready to learn about and find the most engaging materials available to encourage that interest. Here is a picture of the original set up:
I put out a few of their favorite books and toys while I was searching for new and exciting materials for them to try. After about two weeks, I swapped out several of the books for new items:
These are play silks that Olivia and Sophia can use for a variety of open-ended play. They are extremely soft and sheer, making them a great choice for imaginary play. Some of the activities they are used for is blankets for dolls, a wrap-around skirt or veil, a cape, a doll tent, an ocean for animal figurines, and many more.
I love that items like this are so versatile that they can be used in a variety of expected and unexpected ways. Sophia loves to wrap them around herself and run around holding one end like a kite, watching them float in the air. She also takes these two play silks and drapes them over her head while she reads her books, creating a little hiding place. Very long silk scarves would also work for this open-ended play. These are certainly one of her favorite parts of the new preschool area.
I also added a basket of textured items that will feed their sensory needs and assist with sensitivities. In the basket is a large slice of tree trunk, burlap roses, smooth rocks, and a cotton handkerchief. So far, I’ve seen Olivia use the handkerchief as a place mat on the table and lining up rocks, while Sophia prefers to stack everything up on the piece of wood. When I see their interest in this basket, I sometimes join them in their play and introduce texture words like rough, smooth, hard, and soft.
This Muffin Match-up Game is a new favorite, so we have it out for them to practice. The idea here is two-fold, fine motor skills and color matching. I presented this to each of them separately, showing them how to operate the tongs (squeeze the handle together to open the cups) and then pick up the muffins one at a time and put them in the matching colored hole. Both girls love this game and play with it differently, Olivia doesn’t like the tongs so she uses her fingers, Sophia likes the tongs, but prefers to line them up in color order on the table instead.
We are preparing to start a nature study, so I’ve added these two Eric Carle books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug. Two of my personal favorites! Because the girls are still very rough on books, I’ve put out the board books for them to read and save the hardback versions for read-alouds.