For such a versatile and sensory stimulating resource, glitter can also be very soothing which is the reason glitter should be part of the core of your arts and crafts activities and accessible at all times within your environment.
Have you ever witnessed children having fun and playing with glitter? They get so immersed with the glitter that they are completely absorbed. Their eyes sparkle as they are captivated by the glittering sparkle and are entertained and thrilled to see how their excitement transforms into creativity.
Glitter is not just a source of joy to children but can also be a great way to calm down an angry or over-stimulated child when nothing else seems to do anything. In the early years of my career for over 20 years, I have learnt that glitter is a must have item for arts and crafts, and as part of play with sensory elements.
In this article I will discuss play with glitter and how it aids in the development of children in a holistic way. Playing with glitter is not just beneficial for children’s development holistically, but it can be an extremely beneficial part of the sensory play and offers a variety of play or learning experiences.
Glitter play can open up a variety of opportunities for sensory play in children’s play, much like when the child is playing with water. Children like to experiment and are very focused while pouring, filtering or passing water through various sizes of bottles and tubes and experimenting with floating, sinking and other things. Similar to playing with sand, the glitter play provides a variety of therapeutic activities, it aids concentration, improves fine motor skills and contributes to language acquisition and social abilities.
I incorporate glitter into all my art and craft sessions and I have it available for the children to use at any moment in our preschool. Children are always attracted to glitter. Even when they are babies they are captivated and are attracted to shiny or shimmering materials or toys.
As children mature, their interests expand and they must experiment. Using glitter gives children lots of opportunities to explore. It helps them develop social, intellectual, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. Here are some examples:
Mark creating toys for toddlers and pre-schoolers
You can offer activities like making glitter art. This type of activity will improve the strength of fingers, hands and wrists. Children must be able to move their fingers without assistance, and to use a pincer grip (the pincer grip uses the thumb and finger). The next step is to strengthen the wrists and thumbs. Then they must learn to put their wrists down on the table and be able to move their hand without restriction.
Here are a few activities that aid in mark making. I’ve picked some activities that are enjoyable and directly impact learning and mentally interpreting information using the senses and control.
Homemade glitter paint
These glitter paints are much more fun for preschoolers and toddlers than the ordinary paint. Here’s a recipe for diy glitter paint. You’ll require:
1 cup of flour.
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water.
1 cup of salt.
Food colours of your choice.
Blend all ingredients together in the large bowl except the colours. Then, pour the mixture into squeeze bottles. You can then add a different shade to each bottle and shake it up thoroughly. Once it is all combined offer to children to spread it on the paper. When the paint is dry and the salt that is in the paint creates an effect of glitter.
Paint Christmas trees, stars, or snow balls – just let your imaginations of the kids run. This paint is used in all kinds of occasions and occasions at our pre-school.
Paint leaves and fir cones with glitter glue
Making use of natural materials is enjoyable and has the added benefit of helping children learn about nature. They will learn to distinguish the different kinds of trees. You will need:
A collection of various kinds of fir cones, leaves, and other leaves.
Have children mix glitter with the clear glue. Paint the leaves or color the leaves and fir cones. String the leaves together with the string and create a leaf bunting.
Glitter pebbles spooning activity
This activity will help children to concentrate on the hand eye coordination of children. It is necessary to:
Two identical size bowls.
Sand made of gold or silver (or pebbles)
The sand should be placed in one bowl. The child is required to transfer the sand, by using the spoon, the other bowl. This game helps children to concentrate and focus by moving the sand’s shiny surface from one bowl to another bowl. Children will benefit from better hand-eye coordination and a greater focus, and will build up the thumb, fingers and wrists muscles.
Mix together sand and glitter. The kids can use their hands to form shapes and eventually to form letters and numbers. Use paint brushes and forks and rakes for creating shapes.
Playdough that is glittered with playdough is my most loved activity for all pre-schoolers. Making, rolling cutting, sculpting, squeeze, beating, pressing and even tasting playdough helps to build finger muscles tough.
The addition of glitter adds a new dimension to the game. If you have a theme that is ongoing in the pre-school, then you can make different colour playdough and glitter. For example the various colours of playdough we used for our current topic of ‘food and nutrition’. The children created a variety of fruits and vegetables from playdough.
Playdough with black colour was used for our lesson on’space and the planets’. The kids enjoyed playing with the black and silvery glittery playdough to make meteor stars and rocks. Also, provide children with shiny beads, silver and gold-colored paper.
These are games that are fun games, but they also have an direct effect on the development of perception, control and sensory experiences. There are many other options that offer similar opportunities.
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I have these bottles to calm my children in the case of an over-excited and over-stimulated child who requires calming down. These colorful, glittery bottles are very relaxing and useful in helping children transition between self-regulation and co-regulation. for example, when a child is distressed for whatever reason and doesn’t wish to be soothed and wants to be left to their own devices.
Bottles for calmness are helpful. Place the bottle before the child so that he or she can see. The bottles help keep a child’s focus on one area, particularly in situations where the child is feeling like nobody is there to help.
It is possible for children to shake the bottles upside down , and automatically focus on the glitter swirling and falling back. It creates a calm and tranquil effect on the brain. The child is at peace and not concentrating on pushing or kicking. Their breathing is slowing down , and then will return to an average pace.
These bottles are great as “time-out” bottles when a child needs to calm down and be quiet for a some time. You can give them one and request them to remain quiet and look at as the glitter has settled down at the bottom. It takes between 10 and fifteen minutes for glitter to settle down. Mostly, the children enjoy watching this. I make those bottles together with preschoolers. You will require:
Small plastic empty water bottle.
A 1/4 cup container of glue clear.
Glitter of your choice.
Hot glue gun.
A large mixing dish.
First, put the clear glue in your mixing vessel. Add enough drinking water that it fills the bottle up to the neck (taking into consideration the safety of children). You can now add the glitter of your choice.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, making sure that the glue and glitter has been well mixed and all glitter lumps have disintegrated, until it is smooth and there are no lumps left. When the liquid is room temperature, fill it up until it fills the neck of the plastic bottle.
The last (adult) step is to secure the lid with an adhesive gun to ensure that children will not be able to open the bottle.
This time, I’d like discuss edible glitter. It’s easy and cheap to make, and children will have a lot of fun doing it. When I first informed my preschoolers that we would be using to make “eating glitter” they were very surprised. They asked me whether they could eat glitter. I said, of course when decorating our festive biscuits or cupcakes, you can smell the sparkles. You can prepare these in advance and store their airtight containers. The edible glitter can be used for any occasion for birthday celebrations halloween, Easter, Halloween or Christmas, and for all your baking and cooking.
I enjoy doing these kinds of activities with children. I want them to understand that it is not necessary to purchase everything from shops. There are things that can be created by us. These types of activities offer children the opportunity to be part of an entire group, to understand basic maths, and to build language skills and discover new vocabulary. They teach children skills in social interaction which include working as a team as well as sharing and caring for each other while waiting their turn and more. For their emotional well-being, it provides the satisfaction of seeing an amazing end product.
Making glitter sugar sparkles
You will require:
One cup of sugar in granulated form.
One teaspoon of food color of your choice.
The oven should be heated to 180 degrees. Place the colour and sugar in the mixing bowl . Then mix them all together. Then spread them thinly on to the oven tray. Place it in the oven for 10 minutes or until sugar appears shiny. After the sugar is cool, mix it and store it in an airtight container. Use it as often as you require to decorate cakes or biscuits, and so on.
Edible salt glitter
Very easy and inexpensive This is a great way to add glitter to your playdough or homemade paint. You’ll need:
One cup sea salt (or cooking salt).
One or two teaspoons of your preferred food colouring (depending on how strong you’d like the colour to look (light or darker).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Add the salt and the colour in the mixing bowl and then mix. Once mixed, spread thinly on the oven tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. When the salt is cool then mix it up again and keep it in an airtight container.
Using natural materials and combining them with colour, glitter and glue is very satisfactory for children and adults. It’s a great value and many of the items are in your garden or at home. If you do not have a back yard, than use public parks and woodlands. They are abundant in natural resources which are for free and children are able to benefit from these small excursions.
In our preschool, following Easter, we are often spending a day in the park. The children are brought to the park by their parents . Then their teachers greet them at the park. We go through our regular kindergarten school day in this beautiful setting. They love spending time at the park. We collect all kinds of things, such as twigs, nuts, leaves and fir cones, acorns and many more. We bring them back at the school.
Sand is a great way to relax for children, and adding glitter can be a great sensory boost; it invites those children who are shy to participate and boosts their social skills. Creativity boosts their abilities in fine motor skills as well as the development of their language. It helps children integrate into the larger group.
The activities mentioned above help children develop their imaginations and are taught to work with items that are easily accessible to them. The most important factor behind those activities is children are using their senses. They use their eyes, hearing, they are smelling the air, touching and tasting. All of this is employing fine motor kinaesthetic capabilities.
You are encouraging children to participate in activities that increase their self-esteem as well as sense of competence in the areas which are appreciated by everyone. This will boost their motivation and enthusiasm to learn, and lay the foundations for their primary education and beyond.
Sand can be very relaxing for children and adding glitter is a bonus sensory as it entices children who are shy , and supports their social competences
Being creative boosts their ability in fine motor skills and language development. It helps children integrate within the group.
Glitter should be readily available at all times in your first years of setting