What is sensory play?
‘Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.’ (Source: PBS parents)
What are the benefits of sensory play activities?
- Children learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses.
- Sensory play activities sharpen problem solving and decision making skills. Their brain makes connections as they learn how to make sand stick or how certain colors mixed together creates another color. They learn math skills such as comparing size (big versus small), matching (same colors and shapes), and sorting (classifying various materials like pasta, beans or buttons). They also build on science skills such as gravity (water goes down when I pour it, not up), states of matter (ice melts) and cause and effect (what happens when I add water to sand?).
- Sensory play activities help kids to use descriptive and expressive language, as they experience the true meaning of the word. As an example, kids won’t know what the word ‘slimy’ truly means until they have actually felt something slimy.
- Sensory play activities develops prewriting skills as they pour, spoon, grasp, squish various materials.
- Sensory play activities allows kids to be in complete control of their actions and experiences. This in turn inspires them to learn and experiment. It also boosts their confidence in decision making.
- Sensory play activities teaches kids about cooperation and collaboration. As they work alongside peers, they learn to understand that others may have their own ideas. They also learn to share their own ideas with others.
- Sensory play activities strengthen fine motor skills or the coordination of small muscle movements. Mixing, measuring, pouring, scooping various materials all benefit the development of fine motor skills.
- Sensory play activities provide open-ended learning opportunities. This prompts kids to think creatively to solve problems or to engage in make believe scenarios while they are at play.
Some sensory play activities…
Here is a list of some sensory play activities recommended by Kidz Activities. All of these are fun and easy to put together. And they all make use of things that you probably already have at home:
- Moon sand
- Play dough
- Water play
- Soapy slime
- Rainbow soap foam
- Dry pasta
- Flowers & Fairies Sensory Tub
- Edible Water beads
Did you like the sensory play activities recommended by Kidz Activities? To receive more ideas of things to do with your kids, please like the Kidz Activities Facebook page.
Image credit: Fun at Home with Kids