Exploration ideas for Kindergarten

Hello/Bonjour!

Today I will be showcasing some easy ideas to use for exploration time in Kindergarten.  This can mean free time or I.C.E. time depending on what you call it in your classroom; usually they are inquiry-based open activities that students can freely explore. I love having un-structured centers  because children can use their imagination to explore and create according to their interests. The key is to provide many different materials for students to use including sensory, fine-motor, loose parts, nature materials, craft and building materials etc. 

This does not mean you need to spend a lot of time and money; many of these objects you may already have or can source from dollar stores and from nature. All you need to do is leave them out for students to explore with. You would be surprised at the combination of materials they end up using and the inspiration they draw from working together with other students. 

I love putting out art materials for students to create their own masterpieces. There are times where I will have a structured craft that I will put out but for the most part I like the art to be initiated by the students. Watercolor paints create beautiful pictures and even though the water is messy they are easier to clean up than the pigment dense paints. 

I love putting out art materials for students to create their own masterpieces. There are times where I will have a structured craft that I will put out but for the most part I like the art to be initiated by the students. Watercolor paints create beautiful pictures and even though the water is messy they are easier to clean up than the pigment dense paints. 

I love leaving out play dough with different provocations. Some days it will be more structured for literacy centers with alphabet mats, cookie cutters, and making letters but for exploration time I just like to leave out different tools and let the students explore the texture and creation potential. 

I love leaving out play dough with different provocations. Some days it will be more structured for literacy centers with alphabet mats, cookie cutters, and making letters but for exploration time I just like to leave out different tools and let the students explore the texture and creation potential. 

I love light tables! Any material can be seen from a different perspective and be made into something fun and educational. In my number centers post here I talked about counting and representing numbers using the light table. Each week for exploration I will put new materials out to explore. Here students are exploring with easy materials such as corks, jewels, rocks and plastic cups. 

I love light tables! Any material can be seen from a different perspective and be made into something fun and educational. In my number centers post here I talked about counting and representing numbers using the light table. Each week for exploration I will put new materials out to explore. Here students are exploring with easy materials such as corks, jewels, rocks and plastic cups. 

This is a great example of what students can create when left to their own inquiries and various types of materials. 

This is a great example of what students can create when left to their own inquiries and various types of materials. 

I love how this activity adds a fine motor element to play. This activity is very easy to prepare using materials that are inexpensive. All you need are tweezers, marbles and a rubber bath mat from the dollar store with suction cups on the bottom.  Just flip over the bath mat and students can place the marbles into the suction cup holes using the tweezers. 

I love how this activity adds a fine motor element to play. This activity is very easy to prepare using materials that are inexpensive. All you need are tweezers, marbles and a rubber bath mat from the dollar store with suction cups on the bottom.  Just flip over the bath mat and students can place the marbles into the suction cup holes using the tweezers. 

In my math center post here I used these as patterning materials in a fun seasonal math center. When not being used in a center these beautiful materials can be left out for students to explore and use in their play. I have seen them being used with play dough or added to their building creations. I would like to add these to a fall sensory bin next, maybe with some fall scented materials.  I hope that you found an idea that you can use in your classroom this year! Let me know in the comments if you have other easy exploration ideas to share! Thanks for reading,  Penny 

In my math center post here I used these as patterning materials in a fun seasonal math center. When not being used in a center these beautiful materials can be left out for students to explore and use in their play. I have seen them being used with play dough or added to their building creations. I would like to add these to a fall sensory bin next, maybe with some fall scented materials. 

I hope that you found an idea that you can use in your classroom this year! Let me know in the comments if you have other easy exploration ideas to share!

Thanks for reading, 

Penny