Honolulu (KHON2) – Local Homeschooling Mom and blogger Nalani Garza is showing how to teach children through touch with a fun sensory activity to make learning fun.
Garza will be a featured contributor for our new Living808 series Kidz World. She has been homeschooling for 3 years now and has a passion to inspire parents, with her experiences with her three beautiful children, ages 6, 4, and 19 months old.
“I really have a passion to encourage, inspire, and uplift others,” says Garza. “I love to use my social media accounts to blog about my daily life and how I seek Joy in the mundane of motherhood.”
“My first year of homeschooling I really focused on structure and workbooks,” shares Garza. “I had some anxious feelings of making sure my son wouldn’t fall behind academically. I could see how my anxiety as a new homeschooling mom took away the fun, and the expectations I had was making my son lose that passion for learning. I wanted to incorporate hands on learning and thats when I discovered Sensory play.”
Sensory play has many educational benefits. It can be introduced as early as 4 months with age appropriate activities as well as up to children in elementary levels.
Sensory play encourages the development of motor skills, problem solving, language development, and so much more. It’s suitable for for both indoors and outdoors.
Garza’s favorite part? “I just love how they use their imagination and that it limits screen time.”
Garza showed how she made the popular “I Spy” books come to life with a sensory table she created with a theme inspired by the book “ I Spy, Hawaiian Summer.”
She says you don’t need a fancy table or have to buy a bunch of new things. You can use bins that you have around your home. You can go around your house and use things you have in your pantry and use your children’s toys.
For this activity, she used Oat cereal, and then grabbed any toys around her house that were related to our unique Hawaiian culture so it would match the theme.
She walked Living808 through how she created this sensory activity, saying, “First I added oat cereal to resemble sand. —Because the kids will be touching and playing with it, I would make sure the ingredients you use are toxic free. After adding the pretend sand, I started filling up the bin with these art and craft pom poms you can buy at Target. I then placed all their little toys to make the busyness of the I Spy scavenger hunt come to life. I made a list of the toy objects I used and printed it out on a sheet of paper, so the kids would know what they were looking for. You can add shovels and other decorative safe items to enhance the scene. This is my favorite part.”
Her most important tip would be to just Have fun and create amazing memories with your kids like she does.
The I Spy scavenger hunt was a hit because her children loved seeing their favorite toys being used in a different way. They went through the scavenger hunt and then got to play with their imaginations. They learned the ability to recognize visual details, build working memory, literacy skills, as well as fine motor skills and the family made fun memories together.
Garza has been really inspired by an instagram hashtag called #1newplayaday.
To get inspiration from Nalani Garza, she shares her ideas and blogs about the homeschooling journey on her instagram @nalani.garza