My son is a reluctant eater. Vegetables are certainly low down on the list of things he will eat. As a result, we are making a conscious effort to get him used to vegetables away from meal times. As this week’s letter from our A-Z Sensory Play series is V it seemed an ideal opportunity to create a Vegetable Sensory Bin.
Caution: this activity is meant for preschoolers. If you’re planning to do it with toddlers, I would suggest using cooked vegetables and plastic knife. Either way, parental supervision is necessary!
I placed a variety of vegetables into our green sensory bin. Some of the vegetables, such as the potatoes, were beyond their best and I knew we wouldn’t be able to cook them. Other vegetables, such as the bean sprouts, were fresh incase my son was willing to eat them. I added broccoli, brussel sprouts, diced carrot, diced swede, Desiree potatoes, bean sprouts and chestnut mushrooms.
In another container, I placed a small selection of cutting tools – a serrated peeler, scissors, a potato peeler and a small knife. I also added a few vegetables so that my son would be able to try out the cutting tools with. Finally, I placed a chopping board next to the sensory bin.
After discussing what vegetables we could see, what each item looked like and what they smelt like, my son immediately went for a diced carrot and the knife. Typically he tried to cut the smallest item available in the sensory bin. I was clear about my expectations on how to safely use the knife and supervised the activity throughout. I demonstrated where he would place his fingers and how to hold the knife. I was impressed with his ability to slice the carrot.
He moved on to slicing the mushroom and then tried cutting the broccoli. He struggled to get a good grip on the broccoli despite it being much bigger.
To cut the bean sprouts we used scissors. This was a great way of developing his scissor skills as the bean sprouts were easy to snip. He liked seeing how many sections he could make from each bean sprout.
My son was keen to use the two vegetable peelers and was interested to see if they made the same type of cut into the potatoes. The long handle peeler took the skin off of the potato in a single strip. However, my son discovered that the serrated peeler created big indentations in the potato. He described these as tractor tracks. He was so enthralled by the tracks that he peeled three potatoes himself.
During play my son explored all the different vegetables. He tried to stack the diced carrot and swede, used the scissors to trim the broccoli head as if he was giving it a hair cut and removed the individual brussel sprout leaves. Not bad for a first sensory experience with vegetables.