Sensory Play for All Children!
You’ve heard those words, but what does sensory play mean, and why is it so very important? Sensory play isn’t just ‘play’. It is learning and developing at a very basic level. Children use sensory to learn about the world around them, even before they can talk or begin to understand the concepts behind it.
As the mom of a child with sensory input issues, we have always made sure to include tons of sensory activities in our daily routines. These vary from small activities such as playdoh and water play, to large motor games such as obstacle courses and trampoline time. We also spend a lot of time doing things that have sensory play built right in: swimming, beach time, playgrounds, gymnastics, rain walks, and bike rides. I’ve found that even my two other children with no input issues benefit greatly from this extra emphasis on sensory during the day.
How you ask?
Sensory Play builds vocabulary.
Hard, soft, squishy, crinkly, hot, cold, smooth, rough. These are words that are difficult to describe, especially to a small child. They can however be easily experienced. It is much easier to introduce words like soft, smooth and squishy while playing with a nice soft batch of playdoh. These describing words are critical to a child’s vocabulary, as it allows them to explore and talk about the world around them. It builds confidence and a foundation for creating an extensive vocabulary later in life.
Sensory Play provides answers to question kids didn’t even know they had.
When children play, they often discover things that are amazing. A child playing with playdoh knows it will squish, but how amazing when they figure out that the large ball of playdoh can actually be shoved into that tiny hole! Or when the blue and yellow playdoh they are creating with suddenly turns green! These are learning experiences your child has created all by themselves. Most sensory based activities are very open ended and leave tons of room for exploration
Sensory Play in important to a child’s physical development.
Sensory play helps children develop both fine motor skills and gross motor skills. This makes them equally as important to babies and toddlers as it does for older children. The sooner children begin to develop their motor system, the sooner they can begin to explore their world. As children begin to explore, sensory experiences are much more likely to stick in a child’s memory. They engage the senses, and therefore are more cognitively rewarding that other forms of learning.
Sensory Play is FUN!
Not only is Sensory Play a great learning tool, its fun! Children will often be entertained for hours on end without even knowing they are growing their brain. My children’s most requested activities are all sensory play activities!
Check out some of our other posts for some great ideas have fun with Sensory Play with your little one today!