EXPLORING SENSORY PLAY: IDEAS AND ACTIVITIES
Sensory activities are a great fun and learning activity for young children, as they explore and discover more about the world through their senses. Not only that, but they are also a great calming tool for children who are anxious or nervous.
Allow and support your children to listen, look, touch, taste, smell. Don’t take these senses for granted!
What is sensory play?
Sensory play includes all those activities that stimulate the senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing in younger kids.
The benefits of sensory play
Different children will explore and experience these senses in diverse ways, with more or fewer limitations and challenges. In general, these are some of the benefits of these activities:
- Sensory play helps to build nerve connections in the brain, giving children the ability to compete with more complex learning tasks. They will also allow children to refine their foundations for different sensory information, helping their brain to learn which information is useful and which can be filtered out.
- Sensory play materials can be used as a calming tool for an anxious or frustrated child, and some can help keep their attention and connection with you.
- They encourage the development of motor skills, helping a child explore and discover.
- Sensory play supports language development from experiencing with their senses which leads to opportunities to model language.
- It supports problem-solving skills and cognitive growth.
- They are great for both social and independent play.
The desire to engage with sensory play usually comes naturally, but it should be supported and encouraged both at home and in learning environments.
One of the simplest and more natural ways to help children discover and develop their senses is playing outside with nature, its colours, and its movement. The different textures available are great for their tactile sense and the sounds and smells are varied and educational.
Children of all ages benefit from sensory play!
We are sorry to say but messy play is important for young children, giving them endless ways to develop and learn. You can, however, restrict the mess by limiting your child’s play space.
Try setting the activity up as a sensory bin so that it is contained within a large container and place something on the floor underneath it. Another option is taking the mess outside, whenever possible. This will add more stimulation to the activity!
Here are some examples of some activities you can try with your children:
- To touch
Fluffy slime: Even adults LOVE slime. It’s great to manipulate and touch, and so much fun to make! Slime is a truly satisfying sensory experience.
- To See
Sensory bottle: It is a fabulous tool to use with children experiencing big emotions. It’s also great for calming and soothing purposes, as it can help children to self-regulate.
- To Smell
Homemade Scratch and Sniff Paint: This paint is really easy to make, and it’s safe for the little ones. The best part? It smells amazing!
- To Listen
Easter Egg Maracas: Fill plastic Easter eggs with varied materials and close them. Use marbles, coins, rice, beans… The objective is that the little ones identify the sound different materials make.
- To Taste
How about making edible mud? Yes, we know how that sounds, but we promise it’s a great, fun idea. Have a look at this video and try to remember it’s all chocolate and sweets!
These are just some examples but there are countless activities to help your children explore through Sensory Play. Explore which ones would be more suitable for your children’s preferences and needs.
And don’t forget to be creative and have fun!