Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Magnetic Bugs Sensory Bin

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My children received this Melissa & Doug Magnetic Bug Catching Game as a gift from their Grammy and after a few days of playing with it, I came up with a new way to catch them. You see, the net has a rope with a magnet attached to it, so you are meant to try to catch them. My kids had been using it like a regular puzzle and I wanted to make it a little more exciting than that. I grabbed one of their small sensory bins and added in some Red Heart Spring Green Yarn that I cut into 4 to 6 inch pieces. You basically just need enough to fill the bottom, but you can add more if you want some of the bugs to hide in the yarn grass. I presented the puzzle board beside the sensory bin so they don't have far to reach.

My son played with the bugs in the grass and worked on naming them. He enjoyed covering the bugs in the yarn and placing them in the puzzle board. For him, this was a sensory play and fine motor play activity. 

My daughter said that this was like fishing! They were able to hold the net up and practice hand-eye coordination as they tried to catch the bugs and place it in the puzzle board without touching the piece (for older toddlers). You can even ask them to catch certain insects. We have tried alphabetical order and non-winged to winged. You could even use this as a tactile game by having them close their eyes and reach into the grass to feel for a certain bug and then transfer it to the puzzle board (again, for older toddlers).

A insect themed activity for younger children:

Do you have a toddler who is still putting things in their mouth? Yarn may not be right for them if you fear they might try to eat it. But how about a batch of cooked noodles with a little bit of green food colouring? Edible, safe "grass". Just switch out the insect puzzle pieces for plastic bugs, like these Sunny Patch Bugs from Melissa and Doug! They are cute and perfectly sized for little hands! You can work on colour matching and insect identification. Or just enjoy the sensory experience! 

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