It's finally starting to feel like Fall, here in the desert.
With Fall comes the holidays and a very welcome change in the weather. To bring in the feeling of Fall, our classroom has been changed into a farm. Included in our Farm/Harvest theme is a new sensory table. As I've mentioned in past posts, I try not to repeat a sensory table and filler throughout the school year. I want my students to have an entirely new experience with each one. To fit in with our Farm/Harvest and the Thanksgiving holiday, our sensory table has been filled with soft, colorful craft feathers and a bare turkey.
The goal is to really work those fine-motor muscles.
Although the invitation to play is open and doesn't require my scholars to do so, the main goal of this sensory table is to practice fine-motor skills. To give the turkey it's feathers, students need to use their pincer grip to pinch the feather base and push it into the burlap covered foam back. This requires a good pinch, with those important finger muscles.
Feathers give a very different sensorial experience
that children are very curious about.
Feathers, whether dyed or natural, are a fascinating, natural sensory table filler. Most feathers sold in craft stores have a soft fluffy plumaceous section, that children love to touch. While a few of my students are only wanting to touch the feathers, some like to explore feathers closer, curious about the way the barbules grab ahold of each other to form the feathers shape.
When using feathers as a sensory table filler, I like to also purchase a couple of different smaller packages of completely naturally fancy feathers. These feathers usually have spots or are two-toned. I want my students to be able to examine un-dyed feathers as well.
The amount of feathers needed to fill your table will vary, depending on the size of your sensory table container. I used two large bags of craft feathers and two smaller bags of fancy feathers, to fill my 16x24 sensory table.
The turkey doesn't need to be elaborate.
While I like to spend extra time making my classroom themed supplies more detailed, it's certainly not needed! I have attached a turkey image that can be printed, laminated and attached to your turkey body, giving the same experience without the elaborate work. The turkey image file can be found at the end of this blog post.
My turkey neck and head was made from felt, stuffed with polyfill and extra large googly eyes. I hand sewed it to the styrofoam body, with large stitches, so it can be removed if the body needs to be replaced in the future.
Brown burlap covers the styrofoam body.
The base of the body is a large, half styrofoam sphere. I hot glued one layer of brown burlap for the turkey skin, making sure the ends were tucked and glued flat on the bottom. Its important to pull the burlap snuggly and glue the burlap securely on the bottom, since pulling the feathers out of the turkey back can also pull up on the burlap. Don't add hot glue to the top of the sphere, or it may make it difficult, or even impossible to poke feathers through and into the foam.
The turkey image can be downloaded below:
Here are my Amazon Picks to complete the
Fine-Motor Turkey Feather Sensory Table: