We had a great time exploring apples last week, both at school with my students (ages 2 and 3) and at home with the twins (almost 4…sniff!). Here’s a sensory and art material that all the kids have been enjoying…dyed beans in apple colors!
After seeing these adorable tiny apples over at Fun-A-Day, I knew I wanted to create an apple-themed dry sensory bin for this week. We also enjoyed an apple water table for several days, but all of my students enjoy dry sensory fillers because of the textures and the sounds they make during the dumping, filling, and pouring process. I originally intended to make dyed barley in apple colors using the method from my rainbow barley post, but the grocery store I went to was all out. However, I did find a few bags of tiny white beans that were less than $2 each, so I snagged a couple and then consulted Fun at Home With Kids for her tutorial on How to Color Beans (click on the link for the surprisingly easy instructions)!
After making beans in red, yellow, and green, I spread some in a basket and then added cinnamon sticks, small metal pitchers and buckets from Michael’s (they make such a great sound when used to pour the beans), some pretend apples (also from Michael’s), and some plastic apple gems. I let the twins have the first crack at playing with the sensory bin, and then I took the materials to school for the week. I did remove the plastic gems before using the materials with my students because their size makes them a potential choking hazard. None of my students had any inclination to mouth the tiny beans, but I did watch them like a hawk just the same, as I do with any sensory material.
We played with these beans in a variety of ways over the course of the week. On the first day, I presented them in several baskets on the floor on a large blanket to contain spills and make cleanup a bit easier for my parent helper and I. The children explored the beans in lots of different ways- can you see the color matching happening in the photo above?
Even our baby doll got a turn to play in the beans 😉
My students are all loving glue right now, so I gave them the chance to use glue to make abstract bean mosaics in our art center. Some kids enjoyed sprinkling or even painstakingly placing the colored beans into puddles and lines of glue on their papers, while others never made it past the squeezing and rubbing of the glue itself, which is totally fine, too. It’s all about the process in my classroom!
In my next post I’ll show you one more way we used the beans that some of my children were completely amazed by.
Until then, I hope you are enjoying the first few days of fall (if you’re a Northern Hemispherian, that is). Hopefully it feels a little more autumnal where you live than it does here in Texas. Sigh…a girl can dream!