Pirate Sensory Tray

It has been a joy to see our early learners engaged in play with this sensory/small world. We’ve been busy documenting pirate stories as well as supporting their wonders about sea creatures. The children have come up with math games like trading money, guess my number, and more than/less than games. We love open-ended provocations and how children can take their learning and play in multiple directions.

We came up with this idea based on our early learner’s interest in ocean creatures and some coins that I had picked up from Party City. We thought this would be a great opportunity to create a pirate sensory/small world play with a focus on literacy and numeracy. First of all, we dyed some rice blue with Wilton food colouring and vinegar to make the ocean water. The colour turned out very well. Rice is always a hit and meets many sensory needs in our group. We took some old can lids and wrote numbers and dots on them with permanent marker. At the Dollar Store we had picked up some big gems and again used a permanent marker, but this time to write sight words on them. The tray is a hot water heater tray purchased from Home Depot for around $25. This tray is something the children kept coming back to. I’m sure we’ll end up re-creating something similar again.




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