January 5, 2011
CPT Workshop @ Harvey Wheeler
Jeanine Fitzgerald, Certified Human Behavior Consult and Specialist

Play is:
  • engaged in voluntarily
  • an activity a child selects
  • child directed
Classroom environment must engage all senses.

Play is the process. They don't care about the product/goal.

Play is the only thing in childhood that unifies the mind, body, and spirit (the whole child)

Principles of Play
  1. Observe (how does it end?, What do they like?)
  2. Provide thoughtful design places __Designs for Living and Learning__ (vinyl letters on blocks)
  3. Join into play (not a police officer)
  4. Follow their lead and themes
  5. Embrace the spirit of play
  6. Provide play opportunities that engage symbolic representation

Play Types:
  • Sensori-Motor Play- Begins 3-6 months of age (moving through sand) Begins in infancy, act on an object. By 9 months they like objects that respond. At 12 months like cause and effect toys
  • Practice Play- Begins in infancy and continues through life span. Repetition of new skill (dropping)
  • Pretense/ Symbolic Play- Begins in preschool. When you can substitute objects. Foundation of reading, writing, math symbols. (super hero play)
  • Social Play- social interactions, director play
  • Constructive Play- transform, blocks, clay
Parten's Study of Play (1932)
  • Unoccupied Play - stand around, wander, not engaging
  • Solitary Play- 2-3 years, preference
  • Onlooker Play- teaching, modeling, trying to figure out process
  • Parallel Play- preschoolers, toddlers, imitate using same materials,
  • Associative Play- 1st step in social play, some borrowing and lending, organizations
  • Cooperative Play- elementary years, social interactions, agree to do the same thing

Adult Roles in Play
  • Stage Manager- setting up beforehand the environment for self selected play
  • Mediator- conflict resolution, No blame.....solution
  • Player- not a director
  • Assessor
  • Planner- Do you have the materials?

Sensory Rich Environments

Touch (The Tactile Sense)
The tactile information is gained through receptors in our skin. Some of these sensations include pressure, temperature, pain, vibration, and movement. Ways to add touch to an environment are:
  1. play dough/ clay
  2. shaving cream
  3. water table
  4. sand table
  5. dramatic dress up (with the use of different fabrics)
  6. Mummy Wrap: Wrap the child up with a cloth, toilet paper, or stretch elastic band like a mummy from shoulders to ankles. Be sure that the band is taut but not to tight. The child can walk or roll around. This is calming and regulating for the nervous system.
  7. Hot Dog Roll: Have the child lay down on a large mat, or sleeping bag with his head off the mat. With constant pressure roll and press a large ball up and down the wrapped up child. Be sure to make sure the pressure is comfortable for the child and say "I'm going to make sure this hot dog is packed in there really well!"
  8. Patting Places: These are small one-person spaces in the classroom where children can go to get sensory input. For example, have textured letters at the end of a shelf where a child can stop and feel. Or a lego panel under a table with a few legos so a child can build while lying on his back rather than sitting in a block area or at a table.

Smell (The Olfactory Sense)
Smell is one of the fastest, most direct ways to the brain. It can link us back to old memories, positive or negative. There are recommended odors for the classroom depending on whether you wish to calm the brain or alert it:
  1. Alerting: peppermint, basil, chocolate, vinegarcoffee, onion
  2. Calming: chamomile, apple, lavender, lily, pine, soap

Taste (The Gustatory Sense)
Our sense of taste helps us to survive and gives us information about whether something is salty, sweet, bitter, or sour. There are limited ways to include tasting in the classroom. One of which is called:
  1. Taste and Tell - Place out different samples of foods and have children taste and tell whether it is sweet, salty, sour, or bitter. To make the game more challenging, children can be blindfolded and asked to guess what they are tasting.

Sight (The Visual Sense)
Vision enables us to anticipate what is coming at us and prepare for a response. To strengthen the visual sense, add some of the following activities into your day:
  1. Pokin' Os- While looking at a newspaper or a paragraph, have the child poke a hole in the middle of every "O" they find using a toothpick or a pen.
  2. Pictorial Schedules and Rules
  3. An Estimation Jar- This is a small jar with a different object in it everyday. As the children enter the class they are to look at the jar and guess how many of the object there are in the jar.
  4. Bean Bag Toss- Can be played with both hands or as a passing game with old milk jugs. Once cut in half, the milk jug looks like a scoop. This game is great for strengthening eye-hand coordination, depth perception, visual tracking and spatial awareness.
  5. Magnet Fishing- Cut out paper fish and place paperclip on the end as a mouth. Create fishing poles using dowels, string, and a magnet. Have children go fishing!
  6. Treasure Hunt

Hearing (The Auditory Sense)
Hearing is a basic skill that you are born with. It is not learned, however, the skill of comprehension is. As we interact with our environment we aquire it. Some ways to add hearing into the classroom are:
  1. Music- Baroque music played at a low volume, in the background, evokes the optimal learning state. Nature sounds provide a calming effect; movie themes and instrumentals are motivators, and smooth jazz increases the predictability and productivity.
  2. Musical Chairs
  3. Slide Whistle- As the sound becomes a higher pitched the children raise their hands and as it goes lower they bring their hands lower. They are asked to follow the sound of the whistle. This can be done with any body part or the whole body.
  4. Instruments- create and play with your own homemade instruments
  5. Guess the Song- As the teacher taps out a rhythm of a song the children know, they listen and try to guess the song.
  6. Repeating Beats- The students are asked to repeat the beat that is given by the teacher or another student. When you are able to do it, then you choose the next beat.
Balance and Movement (The Vestibular Sense)
Children who are hyperactive, have focus/ attention-span or visual/ spatial patterning challenges need more of this in their environment.
The vestibular sense allows us to know where our body parts are in relation to gravity. This sense is connected to the inner ear and the message it sends to the brain. It allows us to move swiftly and efficiently through space. It tells us if we are upright or upside down, still, or moving. There are many ways to incorporate the vestibular sense into the environment. Some of these include:
  1. T Stools: This is simply a one legged stool which looks like a "T". All children do is sit on it and retain balance while doing everyday activities.
  2. Ball Chairs
  3. Teeter Totters: Looks similar to a see saw however it is very low to the ground. It is one large piece of board laid over a round or square board which acts as a fulcrum. The children are asked to stand on this and either rock back and forth or try to find a place of balance.
  4. Gentle Rough Housing: This can be many things. For example, gentle rough housing includes doing the airplane with children, bouncing children on your lap, horsey rides, wheelbarrow races, piggyback rides and double dancing.
  5. Hokey Pokey
  6. Brain Gym
  7. Movements of the Day
  8. Fidgets www.tanglecreations.com>

Body Position (The Proprioceptive Sense)
This governs impulse control. The children who are trippers, clumsy, can't walk and chew at the same time need this. This sense gives us information about position, force, direction and movement of our own body parts. For example, it is the proprioceptive sense that tells us how much force to use when throwing a ball to another person. This easily added to an environment through:
  1. Bottle Babies: These are old soda bottles filled half way with water and any other materials such as glitter, food coloring etc.. They can also be colored or decorated on the outside. The children will then rock, carry, shake, tip back and forth, and play with the bottles. This helps with muscle control, bilateral coordination, and body awareness and increases proprioception through lifting, carrying and shoving heavy weight.
  2. Plastic Bag Kites: Attach a long string to both handles of a grocery bag. These can then be decorated as desired. Children hold the end of the string and run into the wind and fly their kites. Running into the wind is hard work and builds gross motor muscles. Also feeling whether the bag is full of air or not increases proprioceptive awareness.
  3. Pounding Cookies: This pounding motion can be done with cookies by turning them to crumbs, play dough by making it flat, or any other similar material, which can be pounded down. This improves proprioception and force.
  4. Hammering
  5. Drumming: Cover an 8 by 8 inch square of 1 inch pine board with a shelf liner. This becomes the drum and the children can choose to use their hands or create drumsticks.
  6. Create a Cave: Using large cardboard boxes, children and teachers can cut out/ decorate this new "cave" or "fort" for the children to use in play. This can also become a quiet space for one child at a time if you choose. This allows children to calculate body size and improve body awareness.
  7. Letters with our Body: Children are asked to create letters or numbers using their bodies. They may be asked to join another student to make the letter "T". They would need to lay on the ground with one being the top of the "T" and the other being the vertical piece.
  8. Body Length Measuring: Rather than asking the children to use a ruler to measure, we can say "how many arms length do you think this shelf is?" or "How many of your feet is it from one side of the room to another?" They would then use their body parts to do the measuring.