You’ve probably heard of sensory play, but did you know that this type of play is very beneficial for children? From birth, babies learn about their world using their 5 senses: seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling & tasting. As they grow, children’s senses are their most familiar and most basic way to explore and process new information. Sensory play enhances learning through hands-on activities that stimulate the child’s senses. This is a great way for children to explore the world they live in!
There are many benefits to sensory play. Here are a few:
*Recent research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which leads to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
*Stimulating the senses sends signals to the child’s brain that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning
*Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine & gross motor skills, problem solving, and social interaction
*This type of play helps develop and enhance memory
*Sensory play can calm children who may be anxious or frustrated
*It helps children learn sensory attributes (ex: hot, cold, dry, wet, hard, soft)
*Children love play, so this allows children to be creative and imaginative
Here are 5 sensory play ideas for you to try with your children:
Sensory Tubs– There is no wrong way to make a sensory tub. All you need is a tub and something to fill it. I’ve used beans, rice, noodles, and snow to fill the tub, and then I add in other items for the kids to dig, pick up, or play with. I also give them cups, spoons, and other kitchen tools to explore the tub. For more sensory tub ideas you can visit my sensory play page.
Play Dough– This activity allows children to be creative and imaginative. While playing, little ones are building up strength in their tiny hands to make them ready for pencil and scissor control. I love homemade play dough because it’s easy and cheap. Here is a great play dough recipe.
Water Beads– You may have seen water beads in a vase for decoration, but these can also be fun for sensory play. They are small balls that expand in water and transform to soft, squishy, smooth marbles. Kids love playing with these! You could even play with these in shaving cream to make it more fun!
Cloud Dough- This is the most simple sensory play idea and so much fun. Cloud dough consists of flour and oil. When mixed together, it makes a soft, fluffy powder that’s also moldable. You’ve got to try this with your kids!
Shaving Cream– Although this is messy, it’s also a lot of fun! Spray some shaving cream on a tray and let your little one be creative. You can also make artwork with shaving cream!
Sensory play is a fun and valuable part of giving your child what they need to grow, learn, develop and explore the world around them.
For more sensory play ideas, check out my blog at www.teachingmama.org
Angela is a married to the love of her life, Lane, and is a mom to two little boys, Troy (3) and Wesley (1). She is a former teacher, and a stay-at-home-mom. Angela is passionate about education and loves bringing learning to life through engaging, hands-on activities. She also enjoys crafts, DIY projects, women’s ministry, traveling, and blogging at Teaching Mama. Be sure to check out her blog and subscribe to updates to get easy, practical ideas for teaching your kiddos.