Snow Sensory Play

Sensory play is probably my most favourite activity to set up for kiddos. They’re always intrigued, engaged, and learning with a sensory experience. They really are a great activity for overall development!

Sometimes we feel our sensory experiences need to be elaborate. Or they need to be “pinteresty” enough for our kids to truly enjoy them. Wrong! Kids will be excited with pretty much whatever sensory experience we provide, regardless if it’s pinteresty or not!

All you need for a sensory experience is a big(ish) container and whatever you decide for the sensory experience! I’ve used small shoebox sized storage containers, as well as big shallow containers. Whatever you choose, just be mindful that it may spill out if your child leans on one side. Which really just adds to the sensory experience!

One of my favourite sensory experiences to do in the winter is snow play! A couple of reasons why I love it:

1) Children learn about cause and effect. “If I hold the snow too long it starts to melt.”

2) Children have the opportunity to explore imaginative play. They may add items to the snow such as animals, cars, buttons, blocks, or whatever they want to enhance their play.

3) There are several ways to enhance their play that don’t break the bank; scooping materials, and food coloured ice cubes are just a couple favourites I love. I will warn though, food colouring stains hands, clothes, and carpets (I’ve learned the hard way!) So if you opt for ice cubes, be weary of what your child wears, and where they’re playing!

4) It’s great for any age! Em loves it just as much now at 5, as she did at 1 year. L is the same. As long as they are able to sit up, they can play with snow!

So get outside, grab some snow, and start playing!

Em was my fantastic helper showing how to sign snow! Start with your hands up high, and slowly bring them down while your fingers wiggle.

Introductions

As part of getting to know who I am, it’s only polite that I introduce myself in a less formal space.

I’m Jessica Tiefenbach! I married the love of my life in 2011, and together we have 2 beautiful children earthside, with another expected to join us in May 2018. I love playing board games, camping, DIY projects, playing the flute, and art.

I started teaching preschool back in 2014, and have recently made a business shift after seeing that a lot of parents are struggling with their parenting journey. Every year, I have numerous parents ask how can I improve this, what can I do to stop this behaviour, etc. I’ve also had several children enter preschool with a language delay, and saw the frustrations of lack of communication that brought with it. I also saw the frustrations with my own daughter, who I’ll introduce further down. My hope for Stay’n’Play Parenting is to help parents become more confident in parenting, and help them improve the early years at home.

We welcomed our firstborn, Em, back in 2012. She is full of spunk, character, compassion, and everything in between! She loves learning, animals, art, and playing games.

In April 2014 we noticed that Em wasn’t meeting some of the language development milestones typical for her age group. We also a lot of communication frustration as she knew what she wanted but had no way to tell us. We discovered that she has a severe-profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. A fancy term for significant hearing loss that affects both her ears.

Our world was turned upside down, and right away we started looking for solutions to help her catch up. Having a child with a communication delay, is hard as a parent. It was often a guessing game for what she wanted, and if we guessed wrong she would often have a meltdown, banging the floor with her head for at least half an hour. It was exhausting for both of us.

We accidentally stumbled upon ASL when we contacted Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing regarding hearing aids, and we haven’t looked back since! Since her diagnosis we have gone through weekly speech appointments, bi-weekly home visits with her Deaf Mentor, quarterly audiograms, 3 ASL classes, 2 pairs of hearing aids, and a whole lot of trials! She started life with a huge disadvantage and without ASL she would not be where she is today. Upon entering Kindergarten, she was significantly ahead for a Deaf child in Saskatchewan. She still has some catching up to do socially, but her improvement and eagerness to learn is astounding!

In 2015 we welcomed our second child, L. He is a big mama’s boy, and always looks for a cuddle. He’s also a huge flirt, and loves to make all the old ladies smile at the supermarket. He loves books, getting dirty, cars, and playing outside.

After our experience with Em, we started signing with L right away. Any opportunity we got, we used sign. E was right on board, and often helped to teach him signs. At around 7 months he made his first sign, and continues to sign now. There are times he’ll be trying to talk to Em, realize she doesn’t have her hearing aids in, and switch to sign. It’s amazing to see him flip between the two languages easily and confidently to address his needs.

Welcome!

Welcome to the blog portion of Stay’n’Play Parenting Network! In this space I will be sharing parenting mishaps, educational tools, baby sign, and anything else that may be useful to add to your own tool belt!

My hope is that it will become a resource to parents, and help you realize that not every day will be perfect. We will have good days, bad days, and mediocre days. We have days we are super parents, and days where we hide in the bathroom with some chocolate.

I hope you join me on this journey, and realize we all truly live a crazy life!