Last year I wrote about bringing the snow into the sensory table in a post entitled Snow Tubes. In that post the children were able to explore the snow using various kinds of tubes.
This year, besides the loose, clear plastic tubes, I set a couple of tubes---one clear and one not clear---on an incline. Two pieces of plastic channels were taped to the tubes to create open snow slides.
I call it a Snow Park because I added people and figures to the provisions for the table.
If you look at the apparatus as a whole, you can see that it divides the table into several spaces with different levels. That makes the space more complex and intriguing for the children. In addition, the children bring their own complexity of operations to bear on the apparatus. What does the intersection of those two complexities yield? One of the things it yields is focused engagement in the different spaces on the different levels.
Part of the complexity of the sensory table is that it is also a science table. Children are always investigating how the physical world works. Here is a nice example of one of those experiments with the snow in one of the loose tubes.
Ooopsie from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
How great is that! This video also highlights the difference between experimenting with snow outside and inside. Outside it would be hard to use the tubes without mittens and if the snow fell out of the tube on the ground it would be no big deal. Inside, the child is able to feel the cold with his hands and comfortably watch the snow slide from one end of the tube to the other. And if the snow falls out on the floor, there is a surprise incongruity. Thus a child's scientific term for a surprise incongruity: ooopsie.