Sensory Play?

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #182 – 14th October 2020

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially all new subscribers. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a product, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our Facebook Page and watch out for our exclusive fan page competitions.

I know I said I was retiring but I will keep going, slowly, until the end of the calendar year.

Sensory Play

As Early Childhood Educators, we know of the importance of sensory play for young children. The younger the child, the greater the need as they learn through their senses. It is sometimes difficult to keep coming up with new ideas in this regard so I thought I’d share a few ideas I came across recently at my granddaughter’s pre-kindy. It was Grandparents’ Day so they had a lot more activities available than usual – and there are usually stacks of activities.

The first that really caught my attention was a big tray with a shallow edge that was full of ice blocks! I thought that the children were simply feeling something cold. Interesting idea. Then I noticed that the bottom of each ice block was coloured, I presumed with food colouring. Wrong! The children were encouraged to ‘paint’ with these ice blocks as the bottom of each ice block was made of crushed chalk. Within a few minutes the tray was coloured with the most beautiful artwork. Simple but very effective, and not just because of the art produced. The educator responsible told me how time-consuming it was crushing the chalk so beware! Get yourself a decent mortar and pestle or similar crushing device and have plenty of ice blocks available for each group of children.

Then there was the playdough table. Everyone has one of those. This time the dough did not contain food colouring but instead contained rose petals (you could use any petals but those that have a strong and pleasant scent are obviously the most desirable). The mounds of playdough looked sensational like muffins with chunks of chopped cranberries in them. But it didn’t stop there. There was a little box of tiny wooden figures – fairies, unicorns, rainbows, stars and the like for decorating your dough so you could make a little castle for your characters to hide in or whatever took your fancy.

Inside was another interesting activity. It was a large, round mirror laid down flat on a low table. There was a big box of tiny, assorted shells and a couple of glue bottles (the sturdy variety for wood – not for gluing with paper). The children were encouraged to glue the shells around the edge of the mirror to decorate it. This is where the additional adult helpers came in (especially for wiping glue off fingers)! The mirror would later hang in their room. What a great idea. So simple, such fun and with a practical outcome.

I spent three hours there! My granddaughter couldn’t be dragged away. How wonderful! Each station was interesting but these three stood out for me because of the variation on a theme. I also like this centre because of the number of planter boxes everywhere, inside of which are assorted edible plants – flowers and herbs. They look beautiful – marigolds, nasturtiums, mint, thyme, basil and so on – but if a child eats anything it’s fine, in fact, to be encouraged. The children help with the planting too, I believe.

You don’t need to be well-versed in the Reggio Emilia approach to appreciate the need for sensory play. All children need it and they love it. My granddaughter is testament to that.

A Request Please

As I plan on closing down the website at the end of the calendar year, I would like to clear stocks of my remaining books – Kidz-Fiz-Biz Multicultural and Scarf Magic (packs and CDs available). I don’t want to just throw them out but would like other teachers, parents and friends with children to benefit from them, so if you have any facebook groups, teacher groups or parent groups you belong to, I would appreciate it very much if you could plug my resources for me. Just a line about music and movement resources available for children and my website so they can contact me for details is enough – I would be most grateful.

In the meantime, if you still want resources for yourself, now is the time to get in touch and see how I can help. No ‘deals’ will appear on the website. You need to email me at –

ECE State Conference in Perth has been further postponed to 4 & 5 June 2021

Move to Learn Mats

Winsome Richards from Move to Learn in WA has some wonderful mats that you may like to look at for use with your children. Click here.

Quotes of the Week

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. (Dr. Maya Angelou)

Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself. (Chinese Proverb)

When you praise a child, focus on an accomplishment rather than on the small person. Thus you encourage good works instead of mere egotism. (George W. Crane)

Happiness is the result of being too busy to be miserable. (unknown)

Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll understand. (source unknown)


ASME Summer School 2020

What was the most useful thing you learned today?

Lots of strategies and ideas of teaching concepts and pace.
Some new scarf and tapping stick activities.
Use of scarves and relaxing music.
Tapping sticks especially ‘Happy Sticks’
All of it!

What would you tell others about this presentation?

Very useful. Thank you.
I wanted more time to learn more!
Fun introduction to early childhood.
I wanted more of everything!
Yes! Do it!


Children engaged with nature – the best opportunity for sensory play –

(Source –




Ghana (take note of the bare feet on grass)


Italy (Who doesn’t love bubbles? And the bigger the better!)

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at conferences. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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