Shoes and socks have been discarded as the children run barefoot outside and then remain unworn as the children return to the indoor learning environment. In order to acknowledge this need to explore and enhance this sensory experience the teachers placed a variety of different textured materials on the floor; bubble wrap, sticky back plastic and padded packaging. The colours of the materials were kept deliberately neutral in order to keep the focus of the experience on texture rather than colour. The children approached the materials cautiously at first and then tentatively began to investigate the different materials, using fingers and feet. There were exclamations of surprise as the children’s feet became stuck to the sticky back plastic and had to be peeled off with a loud ripping sound. This was revisited several times with the same effect and similar exclamations of delight.
Inspired by this enthusiasm for texture and in order to provide an opportunity for collaborative play the teachers covered a table in the creative area with sticky back plastic and observed as the children began to explore. Interestingly, the children remained engrossed and committed to the textured materials on the floor and chose to remain there rather than to explore the sticky back plastic at a different level. After a period of time Freya approached the table and brushed past it, her top sticking to the plastic. She turned in surprise and tentatively began to touch the plastic, reacting with surprise and delight at the stickiness. Freya persevered, placing her hand on the plastic and then removing it, laughing at the noise it made. She spent an extended period of time exploring the material before independently extending the activity. Freya approached the collage materials, selected several jars of interesting objects and then returned to the table. Freya began to unscrew the lids from the jars and carefully selected individual objects before placing them on the sticky plastic. To begin with individual items were placed thoughtfully and carefully but then Freya chose a jar filled with small shreds of green paper which she tipped upside down and spread out with the palm of her hand. Other children came over to observe what Freya was doing but interestingly preferred to watch and ask questions, listening to Freya’s thoughts and ideas, rather than joining in. What had been intended, by the teachers, as a piece of collaborative work actually became a very focused and independent piece of sensory process art. Over the next few days Freya revisited the table and carefully selected different items to add, until the whole piece of sticky plastic had been covered.