Sensory learning is so important for young children. Digging in the garden, splashing in a mud puddle, or playing in the sandbox are all great ways to do this outdoors, but what about on a rainy day? That’s where these beautiful rainbow chickpeas come in!
Chickpea Sensory Play Idea
Chickpeas have a nice weight to them. This helps give the students some heavy work when using them. Heavy work doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be something that an adult would consider “heavy,” but instead is any activity that pushes or pulls on the body and gives some resistance. Other fillers, like rice, take A LOT of material to give any tension at all. However, one water bottle full of chickpeas is considerable weight when compared to the weight of the average preschooler! This weight gives proprioceptive input to the muscles and joints, which then aids the student with greater awareness of their body and better control. This can be especially helpful right before a writing or cutting activity since sensory work focuses on those smaller muscles!
Heavy work also helps children stay more focused and attentive after the sensory experience, allowing them to feel calmer and able to self-regulate. This is especially helpful when working with children with special sensory needs.
Fine Motor Skills
When using the rainbow chickpeas, add some recycled plastic water bottles that are color-coded with a strip of construction paper or duct tape. The fine motor skills involved in selecting the right color chickpeas individually out of the table and putting them into the small opening of the water bottle can really be a hand-eye coordination workout! Another option can be tongs and color-coded muffin pans for sorting. Of course, various scoops and shovels can be extremely helpful as well!
Rainbow chickpeas, because of their odd bumps and lumps, do not roll particularly well. This makes it an easier clean up for students. They can sweep them easily into a dustpan without any “runaways.” The size of the chickpeas also makes it easy to see when they are all cleaned up, unlike some other sensory materials, so that students can be the ones doing the clean up instead of the teacher!
Sensory Play in Action
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