The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than by engaging in a festive winter sensory table adventure? Transforming a simple sensory table into a winter wonderland of gingerbread delights not only captivates young minds but also provides a rich learning experience. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through creating a Gingerbread Sensory Table complete with pinto beans, gingerbread men, peppermint beads, and a special focus on numbers. Let the sensory adventure begin!
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Materials for the Winter Sensory Table
Gingerbread Man Sensory Activity Supplies
- Pinto Beans
- Sensory Table
- Table Bins
- Candy Cane Peppermints
- Gingerbread Man Beads
- Wooden Gingerbread Man decor
- Wooden Scoops
Math Sensory Table Supplies
- MathLink Cubes
- Educational Posters
- Ten Frames and Counters
- Textured Number Cards
- Foam Dice
- How To Catch a Gingerbread Man book
- The Gingerbread Man book
If you are interested in my exact table setup with the pegboard, check out this post for the details: upgrade your sensory table with a pegboard.
Setting Up the Gingerbread Sensory Table
Base: Pinto Beans: Start by filling your sensory table with dry pinto beans. This creates a lovely base for exploration, offering a pleasing texture and a neutral color reminiscent of winter. You could also choose to use playdough, scented rice, or even a combination of both to create a sensory-rich experience that engages the sense of smell.
Gingerbread Shapes and Figures: Introduce gingerbread-themed toys and figures into the mix. From gingerbread men to houses and peppermints, these tactile objects will invite little hands to explore and play.
Counting Mats and Number Cards: Make counting mats and number cards available near the sensory table. These mats can serve as designated spaces for counting the different tactile elements in your sensory bins.
Exploring Numbers Through Play
Now that your Gingerbread Sensory Table is ready, let’s integrate a number-focused twist to enhance the learning experience.
Counting Gingerbread Men: Encourage children to count the gingerbread men scattered around the table. This activity not only reinforces counting skills but also introduces the concept of one-to-one correspondence as each gingerbread man is accounted for.
Number Identification with Peppermint Beads: Add numbered cards or stickers to some of the peppermint beads. Ask children to find the beads with specific numbers and place them in numerical order. This hands-on activity helps develop number recognition and sequencing skills.
Math Thinking with the Winter Sensory Bin Items: Incorporate simple addition and subtraction by using the beads, gingerbread men, or number cubes. For example, ask children to create a scenario where some gingerbread men join a group, while others leave. This playful approach to math makes learning enjoyable and practical.
Math Counting with Dice: Have the children take turns rolling the die and counting the number shown. Then they can count the coordinated number of items on the number cards or ten-frame chart.
Sorting and Grouping: Provide small containers or cups for sorting and grouping the gingerbread men based on specific attributes such as color, size, or even the number of beads attached. This activity fosters not only math skills but also critical thinking and categorization abilities.
Book Corner: Set up a cozy book corner with a copy of How to Catch a Gingerbread Man by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton. This delightful picture book serves as the inspiration for our sensory adventure.
Sensory Storytelling: Encourage children to retell the story using the gingerbread figures on the sensory table. This activity promotes language development and comprehension skills as they recreate the narrative in their own words.
This winter sensory table theme is a delightful way to blend the magic of the holiday season with foundational math skills for early learners. Through hands-on exploration and engaging activities, children can develop their counting abilities while immersing themselves in the festive gingerbread activity theme. So, let them dive into the sensory joy of counting cheer—making learning as sweet as a gingerbread cookie! This winter-themed sensory table is a win-win, providing a sensory-rich environment and a solid foundation for early mathematical understanding. Happy counting!