Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Simple, Sensational SALT!

Simple Salt on a Tray
Exploring salt on trays, simply sensational!

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It is oh-so-easy to forget the simple things and the joy they bring.  I have been on this self-created quest to provide new and sensational activities to enrich my buddies early learning  and I overlook the simple.  Fortunately, some days, usually after the second or third cup of coffee, it hits me and I realize the simple has been sensational all along.

This was the case with salt on a tray.  I had done it many times.  It's so easy that it seems, just slightly ... boring.  We hadn't done it for a while.  Today I thought it might be nice to practice some letters and I told my buddies we were going to draw today.  I explained that we were going to draw... but we weren't going to use crayons, and we weren't going to use markers, and we weren't going to use paints or pencils or any of those things.  We were going to draw with our fingers! (It never hurts to give a simple activity a great introduction.)  As my buddies sat at the table, I brought out the trays and poured salt onto them.

I was amazed at how captivated they were by the simple experience of smoothing and piling the salt.  They were amazed at how a little shake of the tray "erased" and gave them a clean slate.  My idea of demonstrating letter formation was postponed for another day to allow my buddies to just experience and enjoy the sensation and explore the activity. 

Simple Salt on a Tray
Baby Buddy enjoys dragging her fingers and patting the salt.

Salt Handprints
My buddies discovered they could make handprints in the salt.


Salt on a Tray
Getting creative with salt drawings.


I know an activity is successful when I see the play progress. I watched my buddies concentrate on their work and watched how it developed. At first, they simply felt the salt on the tray, dragging fingers through it, pushing it into little piles, making handprints and frequently erasing to start again. I was pleased to see my buddies come up with some more elaborate "drawings" than I had seen them attempt to do on paper, perhaps the ease of erasing the salt took away any inhibitions.  Mistakes are harder to correct with crayons or paint on paper. Whatever the reason, this is one simple activity that I know we will be doing again soon. And we might just get to doing some letters, too! 

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