Pine Needle Sensory Play

On our return from school drop-off this morning (glorious thanks to a hard frost overnight), youngest and I foraged for a branch of evergreen as a scented focus for our morning of play.

First we snipped off our pine branch needles into our cardboard tray to make a pile - releasing a lovely fresh smell (“it smells like the woods”). I was surprised how long my nearly-four year old persevered with this activity - I think she was determined to master using scissors - and we ended up with a lovely tactile heap of needles.
Whilst we snipped, we discussed the feel of the needles. Spiky was the word of choice - like hedgehog prickles, porcupines and holly leaves. We agreed the word started with a ’S’, like her brother’s name, like ’snake’ and ’sausages’. We practised forming letters in the needles, then numbers - before then she grew tired of that game and in went her animals.

I like these sorts of set-ups. I never quite know where we’re going with them, but they offer time at the table together chatting about what we’re doing, or in companionable silence as we create together. I don’t push an agenda and instead go with the flow created by her own ideas and imagination. Afterwards we tidy together - sweeping the escapee needles (many) and washing the scissors. Simple, happy times.
  • sensory play
Natural materials offer eco-friendly, sensory ways in which to help hone fine motor skills and provoke imaginative small-world play. Don’t be afraid to just follow your child’s lead and see where it takes you both.