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An Introduction to Sensory Play

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory PlaySensory play is the process of stimulating your child’s senses, through structured activities and play. Each play session can be designed to bring alive one or more of the five senses; sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. There are plenty of toys on the market for babies and toddlers, that stimu-late senses, but with just a few basic items, you can be as creative as possible and design your own play sessions. Kindergartens and play centers often have sensory rooms, particularly if they cater for children with additional needs, but there are lots of things that you can do at home, for little or no cost.

How Does Sensory Play Benefit my Child?

With varied activities that stimulate the senses, you will get an idea of your child’s preferred learning style and which of their senses are most stimulated, for example, one child may respond happily to learn numbers through the use of musical beats, while another child will prefer to learn about num-bers through finger painting. Sensory activities allow for lots of creativity, tailoring your child’s learn-ing to his/her preferences and not feeling restricted by traditional learning methods.
Sensory play may seem like it is just for fun, but your child will develop his/her physical, emotional and social skills, through play. By experiencing something new by using our senses, we take in more than we would by simply being told about something, even more so when we are young.
Babies and tod-dlers are busy developing their fine motor skills and gross motor skills, and sensory play is a great way to encourage this development in a fun and creative way, that will engage your child. If you think about some of your most memorable experiences, it is likely that you will remember what you ate, what music was playing on the radio and what the smell was in the air, as your senses worked together to take in all of that information and make it memorable. In a few years time, your child will remember those messy days in the garden, playing with their mud kitchen and learning all about science and nature as they played.

Easy Sensory Play Activities

IceballIf you have ever visited a play center or kindergarten, that has a sensory room, you may be think-ing that enjoying sensory play at home will be expensive. You will be glad to hear that there dozens of items around the home, that are great for sensory activities. Here are just a few household items that can be used for fun and educational play sessions with your little one

Dried Pasta is great for adding texture to sensory tubs or for practicing threading
Dried Beans are great for adding to old milk cartons or tubs, for homemade musical instru-ments
Flour can be mixed with water, food coloring and food flavoring to make homemade play dough
Cornflour can be used alongside food coloring to make homemade paints, for finger painting or footprint painting
Fairy Lights can be used for visual stimulation. Simply attach to a cardboard box and pop your child inside
Water can be used as it is or can be frozen (hiding dinosaurs inside is a good excavation activi-ty)
Custard or Jello can be used in a large tub or baby bath, for messy play

These are just a few ideas, but you will find that you come up with lots of ideas once you get into the swing of looking at items in a sensory way. There are sensory play and educational websites, where you can pick up durable sensory items, such as sensory lights and large mirror cubes, which may be worth the investment if you see your child benefiting from sensory activities. If money is tight, there are lots of fun items that can be bought from dollar and discount stores, you just need to be as creative as possible. Watering cans, pots of slime, balls and faux grass can be bought and turned into hours of play.

As you can see, there is so much that you can do with everyday things around the house, to intro-duce sensory play to your child. Over the coming months, we will be sharing lots of sensory play ideas, including themed play and sensory tubs as well as lots of frugal ideas, using everyday household objects.

Best Sensory Play Resources

Here are a few of our favorite sites for sensory play ideas, to keep you occupied whilst you wait for our next sensory play blog

Hands on as We Grow >

Save Itto

The Imagination Tree > - Save it

My Small Potatoes > - Save it

The Artful Parent > - Save it

Nurture Store > - Save it

Happy playing!

Save Itto

Save Your Child's Artwork Online!

Are you finding it tough to find a place to keep all your child's artwork? Feel guilty just throwing it away? You can use use Remember Stuff to save pictures of those creations. Just snap a pic with your phone and it is saved forever without cluttering your house or your digital photo albums.

In addition you can save your kids favorite quotes, create chores lists, and more!

Deb GiannasiDeb Giannasi

Deb is a mum of one, who loves to read, write and cooks lots of delicious food. Deb can play a mean game of scrabble and is a little too obsessed with donkeys! On a serious note, Deb is passionate about improving literacy and encouraging learning trough art and creative play.

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