Sensory play is the phrase used to refer to any play activity that promotes and stimulates the use of a child's senses including smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. The purpose of sensory play is to encourage children to use their senses to explore, play, create, and discover. Spending time developing and stimulating a child's senses will help develop emotional, cognitive, social, physical, and linguistic skills. As a parent, it is in your best interest to learn everything you can about sensory play.
Isn't Sensory Play Only Beneficial To Children Who Struggle With Sensory Integration?
There are some children, including those who have autism, who may suffer from a sensory integration dysfunction disorder that makes it difficult for the children to understand their senses and organize their stimuli. While it is definitely true that children who struggle with sensory integration benefit a great deal from sensory play, it is not just these children who need sensory play. Understanding how to use your senses to explore the world is something everyone has to learn whether they struggle with sensory integration or not.
From the very first moment your child was born, he or she was designed to explore and discover the world using his or her different senses. This is why babies and toddlers feel the need to touch everything and put everything in their mouths. This is also why children make a lot of funny noises and put their fingers in their mouths and ears while continuing to make these noises.
What Kind of Activities Are Considered Sensory Play?
Technically, just about any type of play activity is going to utilize at least one or two of your senses. The key to sensory play is to find activities that focus on one sense. An easy way to do this is to think about an activity that would be hard to do without tasting it, touching it, smelling it, hearing it, or seeing it.
Play activities involving food, for example, are great for teaching a child about smelling or tasting. A fun and easy activity would be to blindfold your child and give him or her a taste of some kind of food. Then, see if he or she can guess what the food was based on how it tastes. The same activity can be done using your child's sense of smell if you have him or her sniff items while blindfolded.
The reason sensory play is so effective is because children learn better when they are free to have fun instead of being forced to learn. While your children is playing all these games and participating in all these activities, they don't realize you are actually teaching them about their senses.
For a daycare for your children, contact a school such as Mountainside School.