Sensory play is any activity that stimulates our senses – touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. It helps children learn and interact with the world around them.
Is Sensory Play really that important?
Absolutely! Much of the way we explore and interact with the world comes through our senses. Studies have shown that sensory play helps develop fine motor skills, supports vocabulary development, enhances memory, problem solving, and can help with emotional regulation.
Many professionals who work with children use sensory play to help their patients including occupational therapists, child psychologists, and speech and language pathologists as well as preschool and elementary school teachers.
When should I begin using sensory play with my child and what are some examples?
You can begin using sensory play as soon as your child is born! Sensory activities can be adapted to any age and stage.
For example, babies and toddlers might like poms or cotton balls rubbed on their skin for a calming effect. Or maybe you can blow bubbles and let your infant track the bubbles with his/her eyes and head. Once they are older, they can blow the bubbles themselves and then chase them down.
Let your infant bang on pots and pans with a spatula.
Sensory bins can be made with cooked pasta. Just cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions, wait for them to cool off, and then color them with food coloring. This is a taste safe way for your young toddler to explore.
Playdough and sensory bins are another great sensory activity. Grab some rice or playdough, put it in a container of your choice, add some animals, scoops, or spoons, and let your child grasp, pinch, and squeeze the items in the bin.
If you have any questions, please hit reply and I will be happy any questions you may have!