Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Space-Themed Sensory and a FREEBIE! :)

Nowadays it is more important than ever to keep a little "play" in our classrooms, wouldn't you agree?
We know that children thrive on inquiry-based and hands-on learning so it only makes sense to provide them with as many opportunities for this as possible.  However, if your schedule is anything like mine you struggle with prioritizing and getting it all in.

One of the ways I try to touch on some of these necessities at the same time is through the use of sensory tubs.   They provide an opportunity for play AND learning with a sensory experience that sparks the interest of my students.

This week I introduced a new tub into my stations.  We have recently started a space unit in science so it seemed only fitting to create a tub that was centered around this theme.  Most of the materials for this tub came from various art supplies I had on hand.  I combined sparkly pom-poms, pipe cleaners, etc. with some light-up toys, shuttles and Buzz Lightyear figurines, and bouncy balls.  I threw in some of those stretchy, funny-shaped toys from the party favors aisle too.  I used a bag of aquarium rocks as my filler (P.S.- Those rocks are a lot heavier than I thought!) and found a package of glow-in-the-dark stars, comets, etc. at the dollar store.  Here is what the tub looked like with everything sitting on top...before it got throughly mixed up:
For the beginning of the week I used this tub as my skill builder activity in math stations.  I programmed each of the glow-in-the-dark stars with a number 15-19 (those are the numbers I am hitting hard this week.).  I used this printable from my Jumpin' Jupiter packet and had my students go on a "Star Search" during their station time.  When a star was found, they were asked to identify it's number  and color in a star with that number on it on their printable.  I included a color by the code to reinforce those color words as well. 
The tub will be transitioning from my math stations to my literacy stations tomorrow.  I plan to incorporate some medial vowel practice into it for the end of the week.  I've printed smaller versions of CVC and CCVC cards from Jumpin' Jupiter that my kiddos will be hunting for and categorizing according to middle sounds.
Click on the picture below to download the free preview file for your own copy of the Star Search printable as well as a blank one so that you can write numbers of your own choosing for practice.
I hope you can use it!  
Any other ideas for station activities with this tub?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Freebie Fridays


  1. Mary, you know how I feel about my sensory table! This is fabulous. Thanks for spreading the word. We kinder teachers WILL NOT give up our sensory tables without a fight.
    A Differentiated Kindergarten

    1. Thanks Marsha! We sensory lovers have to stick together! :)

  2. I love this! Do you have any other ideas for fun sensory tub filler that is quiet and no super messy? I teach 1/2 day kindergarten and I nixed the sensory tub at the beginning of the year because - let's face it - I have 1/2 the time and somethings had to go! But, you and Marsha are motivating me to bring it back!!

    Happy Teacher Heaven

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this AWESOME idea :) The only other thing I can think of would be to have some of the words that are in the sensory tub, on a word wall. Then students could also use it in conjunction with Writing Around the Room.

    I love this idea!!!! What a great way to start my Thursday morning!

    Literacy Without Worksheets

  4. Thanks for sharing! I love this idea! I have a sensory bin like this, but I have not had the students look for numbers.


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