Sensory play is an early, but important step in the development process of a child. Sensory play is anything that stimulates baby’s sense of smell, hearing, sight, taste and touch and also the vestibular and proprioceptive senses.
Sensory exploration is a child’s way of examining, discovering, categorizing and making sense of the world around them. It is beneficial to provide children with opportunities for sensory play. Sensory activities for children can be messy, engaging, fun, and easy to put together. Sensory play is a great opportunity for kids to explore language and use descriptive words. Playing with different textures help your child build new ways of talking and describing the world around them. The children learn new words to describe what they are experiencing, words like slippery, slimy, soft, squishy or sticky.
Benefits of sensory play:
- Sensory play helps children to learn important sensory attributes like hot, cold, sticky, dry, etc.
- It helps in developing and enhancing memory functions.
Builds nerve connections within the developing brain’s neural pathways. This in turn triggers a child’s inclination and ability in completing more complex learning tasks.
- Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
- Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or hyperactive child.
It helps a child to be more creative and imaginative.
Messy Sensory Play Ideas : Silky Smooth Goop can be made easily by combining cornstarch with liquid starch. You can make it colourful by adding liquid or gel food colours. Silky smooth Goop can be stretched and pulled apart into smaller pieces (not dry or crumbly) and it rolls back up into a smooth soft ball. Use descriptive language to describe the experience, how does the SIlky Smooth Goop feel? It feels soft, smooth and stretchy. Asimilar activity can be done with Play Dough using rolling pins, play scissors and cookie cutters.
Non- Messy Sensory Play Ideas : The game is to search for the hidden numbers in the spaghetti worms. Start searching at the beginning with number 1 and hide the other numbers. Ask your child to find each number and arrange them in order from 1 – 10 on the tray. Point at each number and count out loud.
Dry Sensory Play Ideas : Talk about the number shapes and how each number looks, such as number 5 looks like it has a big tummy. Funny little things like this help children learn their numbers as they associate it with something familiar to them. Scoop, sift and pour the bean, pea and lentil mix, search for different colours and place them into different containers. Layer the different coloured beans, peas and lentils in the jars. This will help children develop hand eye coordination skills.