"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play really is the work of childhood." Fred Rogers
As adults, when we see kids playing, we don't often think of it as work. For us, work and play are two very different things. For children, they are one and the same. It is through play, that children learn about the world around them, and learn how to solve problems.
Sensory play enhances memory, vocabulary, fine motor, problem solving skills, and can help ease anxiety. Sensory play is one of my favorite ways to teach children.
So how does sensory play enhance and develop all of these skills?
1. Sensory play enhances and strengthens brain development by building nerve connections in the brains pathways, which enhance understanding and reasoning.
2. Sensory play supports language development through imaginative play. Children tell stories, make up characters, and create new worlds through sensory play. Through story telling, children are learning to talk about the world in different ways, which helps them communicate with their peers more effectively.
3. Sensory play enhances fine motor skills through the manipulation of objects. Fine motor skills are enhanced by the pushing, pulling, scooping, dumping, and feeling of different textures.
4. Problem solving skills are enhanced by experimenting with different objects during sensory play. This helps children develop decision making skills and teaches them how to find solutions to obstacles they may face during play.
5. And lastly, my favorite reason of all why sensory play is so important to children. Sensory play can help ease anxiety and frustration in our kids. One of my kids has issues with anxiety due to a traumatic event that happened early on in life that was beyond our control. We saw a counselor who used play as a means to help move him forward. Every time I watched him move the rice around in his hands while talking, or play on her sand table, I saw the fear and the anxiety move away from his body. As a mother, that was a huge relief for me and an aha moment. It was then, that I started creating sensory bins for us to use at home. He is older now, but we still use sensory bins as a way to help calm and ease his anxiety.
You can shop sensory bins Here or make one yourself with materials you have at home.
Interested in learning how play can help you and your kids? Play: How it shapes the brain, Opens the imagination, and Invigorates the soul by Stuart Brown is a good book to start with. (This is an affiliate link. That means I get a small percentage of the book if you were to buy it. This is at no cost to you).