Sometimes I have heard this phrase: 'My son loves to play with hydrogel balls' (little, but it is heard), since it is associated with a negative answer: but they are very dangerous!, He can swallow them or worse, stick them up his nose! Ladies and gentlemen, please do not act out and deprive your sons and daughters of playing and experimenting with such a good resource. Therefore, I propose a Homemade sensory game for children, very easy to prepare, that uses gel balls.
This simple classification activity according to color is focused on students in the first cycle of Early Childhood Education, specifically the little ones between 2 and 3 and a half years approximately. But, in addition to the classroom, you can try playing with her at home. Here we go!
- Hydrogel balls of different colors
- Large bowl
- Plates or bowls
Gel balls are a type of hydrogel that is generally used in plants, since they release the water that they have previously absorbed as they dry and also fulfill an aesthetic function. They are dangerous? Yes, but many toys are and yet we let them play freely with them.
This product has not been created for the educational function, but we, the teachers, see it as ideal for certain types of sensory games. Hence the importance that whenever an activity is developed with this material, is continuously supervised by an adult who watches over the child. As I reiterate, this product has not been developed for this purpose.
Once the warning has been clarified and carried out, I show you the three steps necessary to prepare this activity.
1. We put the hydrogel balls in water and let them increase in size for about 12-24 hours. If you have bought gel balls that are already hydrated, like the ones sold in many stores, you can skip this first step.
2. We empty the balls on a surface with depth.
3. We put the plates or bowls close to classify the balls.
The game that we propose is the simplest. The children will have to sort the balls in the large container and place them on the plates of the corresponding color. That is, the blue marbles on the blue plate and the green marbles on the green plate. This game can be more complicated (as we explain a little below) by proposing more colors, ball sizes, etc.
By using their hands, children will experience the curious texture and feel of gel balls and will also practice the pincer movement (with the index finger and thumb). Be careful, they are very slippery!
Some details to keep in mind:
- An adult will control the activity at all times and will watch the child so that he or she does not eat any pellets. We stress the importance of continuous supervision. And after this activity, don't forget to wash your hands well!
- You will check that before putting the balls in water, they have a tiny appearance. Do not let yourself be guided because you have thrown few balls, since as they grow they will create a feeling of having more. And they tend to grow a lot!
- If we do not have plates or bowls of the colors we have chosen, we can always identify them in some way, either by gluing a piece of paper to them with the color, or by making a 'coaster' (colored cardboard) on which we will deposit them .
If you carry out activities with this material at home, you will see that it is an excellent educational resource. These are some of the benefits that this activity brings us.
- Encourages and enhances children's attention and concentration.
- Mathematical aspects such as The discrimination and the classification of different objects.
- Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are developed, two very important skills that children must acquire.
- It is an activity that can be modified according to the age of the children. For example, we can increase the number of colors to classify, use balls of different diameters (that is, of different sizes), even change the way you catch the balls, for example, with measuring spoons. All these changes will be a little challenge for older children, who will be very attracted to this activity.
- It is an excellent material to attract curiosity and motivate the amazement of children, since just seeing how the hydrogel balls grow is super fun and attractive for them.
- This activity also provides us with a high sensory and perceptual content. Having your hands in direct contact with the gel balls gives rise to a new and different sensation in your children or students, providing them with freshness, humidity, relaxation or softness, concepts that thanks to them they can internalize.
If you carry out activities at home that have this fantastic resource as protagonists, you will be able to see how your sons and daughters have a great time while continuing to develop their capacities and I hope that it is more and more frequent to hear the phrase: 'To my son he loves to play with hydrogel balls' and is gradually losing his fear of using them. But remember Always make responsible use of them!