Your science and sensory area is a good transition area between the noisy and quiet learning centers.

Your science/sensory area would be a good choice to locate between the gross motor area and your quieter learning centers. You will want this near a water supply for easy cleanup of the children – like running through a sprinkler - another potential use of the gross motor/outdoor games space.

Be sure to have some child-sized shovels and space that is appropriate for digging up some buried treasure and/or creating mud. While sand is a good medium for digging, and if sufficient water is added, can be used for building, it is impossible to use it for making good quality, satisfyingly gooey mud. There is nothing so fun or cooling on a hot summer’s day than playing and stomping in a mud puddle, nor as creative as making mud pies or adobe bricks with that same mud. By adding some rocks and sticks, the children can create dams and observe water currents through this wonderfully messy play space.

To make this area usable year-round, include a garden area or a few “window boxes” attached to the fence at the children’s level for plants that are, if not edible, at least non-toxic, and other trees or bushes that encourage discussion with the changes that occur through the different seasons.

Include a supply of magnifying glasses for studying bugs and leaves, magnets for pulling iron from the sand, and even a balance scale for weighing rocks. If you also provide a shelf attached to the fence or a free-standing table, the children have a place to set the tools for their scientific study while they are hunting for the bugs and leaves to examine.

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