Exploring aluminum foil in preschool

For young children, exploring aluminum foil can be a very new and interesting sensory experience…

Aluminum foil can go from being very smooth to very bumpy which creates a unique texture experience for young children and a great opportunity to expand descriptive vocabulary….

Wy started off with a sheet of aluminum foil and as he rubbed his hands across the foil, I used terms like shiny and smooth. Then I showed Wy how we can scrunch it all up to make a ball…

After Wy finished scrunching up his foil, I asked him to try and open it back up. Getting the foil “unscrunched” without ripping it all up was a good challenge for Wy but he did a nice job with only a few torn off pieces in the process….

Once the foil was unscrunched, Wy used his hands to smooth it back out on the table and I used the terms like bumpy and rough….

Next, we added a little bit of paint on the foil and Wy used his finger to rub the paint around the bumpy foil…

It didn’t take long until he discovered that it would be fun to use his whole hand to rub the paint. The combination of the paint and the bumpy foil is a terrific exploration in texture…

I think when I do this again with all the children, we will paint on the smooth foil and the bumpy foil so the children can explore painting on both textures side-by-side. I didn’t think of doing this today but I will have to remember that for next time!!

Getting Messy With Ms Jessi

By |2011-08-19T09:26:53+00:00August 19th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree August 19, 2011 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Love this! Another great thing is to put aluminum foil on a warming tray and draw with crayons.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 19, 2011 at 10:01 am - Reply

      I am going to add that to my list of to dos Melissa!

  2. Nicole M. August 19, 2011 at 10:56 am - Reply

    With the bumpy foil, you could take a print on a sheet of paper to see what transfers and to have something to remember the experience with.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 19, 2011 at 11:53 am - Reply

      Yes – that would be a great way to save the impression for sending home!!

  3. Cat August 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    LOVE foil
    I have several ideas written down that we are planning as well
    I want my lil guy to play with it, scrunch and smooth, etc like you did with Wy and then we are going to do a crayon rub transfer to let him see the textures he created in another way!
    Love your blog btw!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Thank you Cat:) You are inspiring me to do more too!

    • Caro August 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Sorry.. This might sound a little dumb but i sure would appreciate the help, How would you do the crayon rub transfer? Thanks!

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 28, 2011 at 12:08 am

        Not a dumb question at all. I am not positively sure I know which activity you are asking about. If I am correctly understanding your question – then you would cover a warming tray with foil then when the tray is warm enough to melt crayon, you draw on the tray then place a piece of paper over the melted crayon drawing and rub it until it leaves a print on your paper.

  4. Ms. Jessi September 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    I love this! Great sensory activity. I may even cover my babes highchair tray with foil and see what he does. 🙂

    Thanks for linking up at Link Your Mess! I appreciate you and always love your fabulous ideas. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2011 at 1:10 am - Reply

      My pleasure Jessi:)

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