Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Table in the Sand Table - Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote about putting "a table in the sand table" – creating a work surface that children could use to pile sand, arrange loose parts, and manipulate objects closer to their eye level. The pegboard had many interesting properties, but one problem. In some ways, it was too big for the table. It was difficult for children to reach under and around, and there wasn’t much space for children who wanted to dig and pour the sand without the table being in their way.

I decided to try a different type of surface – a long flat piece that would go across the middle of the table. Ideally I would have like to use wood, but with my limitations on time and material, I chose cardboard. I cut a long strip out of a cardboard box, and cut three large rectangles across the surface. Part of the children’s explorations with the pegboard “table” involved pouring sand through and pushing objects underneath. I wondered what they would do with larger holes that hands and objects could fit through.

I secured the cardboard strip to the sensory table with duct tape at the ends, and used masking tape to tape together two stacks of unit blocks to serve as supports in the middle. I taped down the cardboard to these supports to hold it in place.

Initially, the children’s main interest was the holes. Pouring sand through, dropping objects through, and sticking their hands through

One child said he didn’t want any holes, and asked me to cover them up. I gave him some pieces of cardboard, and he covered each hole, to create a solid surface. This added a new dimension to the play, which quickly shifted to piling sand on top of the cardboard slats, then pulling them away to watch the sand fall through the holes.

The cardboard strip and slats became not only a work surface, but a place for physics exploration, covering up holes, creating ramps, and balancing objects.

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