Discovering spectacular things in preschool

Your students will love the simple joys of discovering spectacular things!

We read a book this week that inspired us to hunt for our own spectacular things.

Expanding on a Book

This past week we read “Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” by Mac Barnett. Following the book, the children were invited to explore “spectacular things” all around the classroom. Remember the construction truck sensory? I added a handful of those same Dollar Store jewels to the sensory bin. The favorite center of the day, however, was this simple sand activity.

Spectacular things

Setting up an Invitation to Explore

The students loved this invitation to explore! I used two large, white trays for the base. I then added smaller trays on each side. I made sure to label each tray with the word observe. Then, I gathered a paint brush, a magnifying glass, and a set of tweezers for each spot. I laid down a handful of red jewels and covered them in a light layer of sand.

Spectacular things

Making Discoveries

I made sure to demonstrate to the students how they can use their brush to gently brush away the sand to uncover the jewels. Some students chose to use their hands to pick up the jewels while others used the tweezers. The children spent the entire morning doing brushing, counting, and exploring their spectacular things! I love how fascinated the children were by this process.

More to grow on!

Construction truck sensory play

Pressed flower art in pre-k

Available on Amazon!

By |2018-12-12T12:29:17+00:00September 27th, 2018|

About the Author:

Hi! I am Lauren Barkes. Currently, I am on staff with Deborah at the Teach Preschool Children's Studio. In The Children's Studio I teach class day to day and I also handle the administrative side of the school. I have been with Deborah in the classroom for about 5 years! I am currently in school to get my associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. I feel so honored to be apart of such a wonderful community in the early childhood field. I like to describe myself as a life long leaner, dreamer, and creator. I strive to continuously be building a life-long love for learning in my students!


  1. Brenda September 30, 2018 at 9:10 am - Reply

    What kind of sand did you use?

    • Lauren Barkes October 3, 2018 at 9:09 am - Reply

      We just used play sand! It is the same sand that is in our sand table and can be found at a local hardware store like Home Depot!

  2. Jennifer Pizer September 30, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! It’s most always the simple activities that capture the attention and play of our little guys! I am very inspired by this idea to try some similar things in my classroom this week. I think we may do some spectacular play and discovery in our classrooms this week too! Thanks for the reminder of the value of simple things!

    • Lauren Barkes October 3, 2018 at 9:07 am - Reply


  3. John Smith December 4, 2018 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Christy Hall February 16, 2019 at 10:40 am - Reply

    I am having trouble locating plain white trays like you display often. Could you send a link if possible.
    Always GREAT ideas, planning and learning shown in your school!

    • Deborah Stewart February 16, 2019 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      I ordered my trays from Amazon. You can view them here!

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