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Using our Senses for Sensory Play!

Using our Senses for Sensory Play!

Parents may have heard the term ‘sensory play’ before but only have a brief understanding of what it may mean or how it can take place at home. Allow us to explain!

Sensory play can be any type of activity that encourages one or more of a child's senses - touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing as well as movement and balance. We incorporate this daily in ourCare for Kindies programming across all age groups.

Why is it important?

Sensory play is essential for the development of a child, from the days of being a newborn onwards. Children use their senses to explore, and make sense of, the world around them. Giving them different opportunities to use their senses in this way is crucial to the development of their brain by building nerve connections and pathways.

This type of play and exploration assists a child in learning how to complete more complex learning tasks and helps with their language development, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, social skills, decision making and cognitive development.

As well as all of the amazing benefits mentioned above, sensory play also helps with developing memory skills, and is very advantageous for calming down a child who is feeling frustrated, anxious or angry.

Developing the ability to problem-solve can also evolve from sensory play. As children explore objects using their senses, they are developing the strategies needed to solve problems. They guess, experiment, test assumptions and come to conclusions, all of which form early science skills!

A child’s vocabulary will also expand with sensory play as they learn how to describe attributes of objects they are playing with. Examples of this could be ‘hot’, ‘cold’, ‘smooth’, ‘rough’ and ‘soft’.

Simple examples of sensory play

  • Slime, kinetic sand or play dough(can be homemade)
  • Playing in a sandpit
  • Playing with food (messy, but sometimes necessary!)
  • Creating a sensory box with leaves, rocks, sand, coloured rice or pasta
  • Water play
  • Glitter jars – water and  litter in a bottle
  • Planting seeds and digging in the dirt
  • Setting up an obstacle course
  • Beading and threading
  • Using a swing!

These can all be low-cost or no-costactivities, that can create hours of engaging and educational play for your child.The options at home can be endless, so go ahead and set up some simple sensory play opportunities today!