Arctic Sensorial Bin

Assalamu’alaikum & Marhaba,

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We are going to wrap up our winter theme soon.   Layaan, Muhammad, and I made an arctic sensorial bin using fake snow and arctic animals together.  I also printed out nomenclature cards of the animals in Arabic to match with the toys.  This activity is perfect for all age groups.  You can make it as easy and as challenging as you need for the child’s age.

Fake Snow

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What You Need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Hair Conditioner

Making fake snow is super easy.  Just mix together the baking soda and conditioner until it resembles the texture of snow.  The conditioner will keep the baking soda fluffy, but also easily moldable to make snowballs, etc.  It also helps the fake snow feel cool.

Layaan helped me make the snow.  We talked about how real snow is made.  We talked about how it feels and its color.  For Muhammad, I also provided a description of the snow in Arabic.  Key words for Muhammad included:  ثلج/thalg (snow), ابيض/abyad (white), برد/barrid (cold).

Sensorial Bin

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What You Need:

  • Arctic toy animals
    • Arctic Fox
    • Snow Owl
    • Walrus
    • Seal
    • Sea Lion
    • Penguins
    • Wolf
    • Arctic Hare
    • Moose
    • Polar Bear
    • Beluga Whale
    • Killer Whale
  • Fake Snow
  • Blue Glass Pebbles
  • Blue paper
  • Grey/Black Paper
  • Rocks
  • Nomenclature Cards
  • Bin

After we made the fake snow in the bin, we colored some white sheets of paper blue to represent water.  Ideally, I would use blue glass pebbles instead.  We colored some paper grayish black and crumpled them up to represent the rocks  and added a couple of real rocks for the seals, walruses, and penguins to hang out on.

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Animal Hunt

For both Muhammad and Layaan, I first hid the animals in the snow.  I then laid out the images (without the word label) from the nomenclature cards and asked them to find the animals in the pictures.

It was a great activity to identify each animal.  Muhammad picked up the words snow, white, wolf, and polar bear in Arabic.  I did the lesson for Layaan in English as she is already familiar with the Arabic words.  I plan to have Layaan’s Arabic teacher do the activity with her for the animals she is not familiar with.

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Inuit People – Cultural Lesson Extension

In addition to naming the animals, I want to extend the lesson to teach Layaan about the people who live in the Arctic.  After a little research, I learned that Eskimo is actually considered a derogatory name given to the people who inhabit these areas in the Canadian Arctic.  It means ‘eater of raw meat’ whereas Inuk (singular) and Inuit is their official new name which just means ‘the people’.

For the first day, I just introduced their names and where they live, igloos.  I plan to visit the local bookstore to find books on Arctic animals and the Inuit people, Insha’Allah (God Willing).

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Overall, the kids had a blast.  It kept them busy for an hour.  Layaan started to make snowballs on her own.  Sensorial bins are the best to peak their interest and a fun way to teach them new vocabulary words and concepts.

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