As some of you might know besides being a Baby Massage and Baby/Toddler Yoga instructor, I am also a professional nanny who hold a Bachelor of Education Degree. Teaching and creating activities that stimulates growth and development is one of my big passions. A big part of developmental play activities is #SensoryPlay.
But what is Sensory Play?
Simply explained; sensory play is an activity that includes your child's senses.
There are 7 senses:
Children (and adults) use their senses every day. They use their senses to explore. This is the way they learn and try to make sense of the world around them. Sensory activities give the child the opportunity to play, create, explore and investigate while, as you might guess, using their senses.
There are many reasons why sensory play is important and I will share some of them with you today.
1. It helps to build nerve connections in the brain.
By providing sensory activities that your little one can explore signals are being send to the brain. The more the brain in stimulated the more it grows and develops.
2. It supports language development.
Describing the world that they explore and experience is a great way to support your little one's language. Exploring different types of objects, tastes and textures helps your child to talk about the world in new ways. Ice, is not just cold but it is also slippery, a bit wet and see through. And when it melts in turns into water. Which is very wet, can be hot or cold and can even have a salty taste. When children explore these happenings themselves, it becomes an experience that will stick with them.
3. It can help children to relax and calm down.
You may have notices that for little one is calmer after a bath, seems more relaxed when he/she is focusing on an activity or is more grounded after a session of jumping on the trampoline and running around the house. This kind of sensory play helps children to calm down. It regulates their inner restlessness, boredom or any other type of internal agitation.
4. It stimulates your child's motor skills.
Gross motor skills is the bigger movements your little one makes like; crawling, walking, jumping etc.
Fine motor skills require your child to use smaller muscle groups for example to write or do buttons up etc. Sensory play encourages to use both motor skills for example chasing bubbles allows your child to use their gross motor skills and when ordering pompoms your child will have to use their fine motor skills.
5. It helps children learn sensory attributes(hot/cold, smooth/rough etc).
It is really important for children to safely learn the different contrasts that there are out there. For example you wouldn't know a cuddly toy is soft if you have never touched something tough like a brush. Or how would you know that a pineapple tastes sweet or a lemon is sour if you never taste both tastes.
Here are some easy and fun sensory play activities for different age groups: Sensory play for babies– tummy time while reading and looking at black and white sensory books, watching bubbles, watching toys that light up, feeling different fabrics (you can use different scarves). Sensory play for toddlers– feeling and grabbing different balls (see my instagram for how to do this activity), messy play with cooked spaghetti or pasta, see how colours change when they're mixed while painting or feeling the paint of their skin or playing with musical instruments. Sensory play for pre-school aged children– creating shapes and playing with kinetic sand or playdough, or playing with musical instruments and listening to the sounds they make when they for example shake the tambourine vigorously or gently or colour sorting activities.
I love writing these blogs as I am so passionate about Sensory and Developmental play and I would love to help you and anyone you know to create these activities. So, please comment down below if there is something you want to know more about or what sort of activities you would like to provide but you are not sure how.
I hope you enjoyed this