The Benefits of Sensory Play
Children are born with five senses, and an important part of early childhood development is providing opportunities to use these senses to their full ability. When children utilise sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, they begin to build nerve connections in the brain whilst also developing their fine motor skills and decision-making abilities. Sensory play is an important part of the learning process at Valley Heights Preschool, and in this blog post we will be highlighting some of the benefits and fun activities you may wish to try with your child.
What is Sensory Play?
Put simply, sensory play is any activity which engages one or more of the five senses. It is a process of play, creation, investigation and exploration which encourages movement and balance. One of the first activities which comes to mind when thinking of sensory play is usually sandbox play, where children touch and feel granules of sand whilst interacting with their peers. Whilst this activity is great for increasing sensory skills, improving hand eye coordination, nurturing creativity and developing communication skills, there are a number of other activities which children can benefit from.
When it comes to sensory play, you can let your imagination run wild. It is important that activities are planned carefully to ensure that they are suitable for different age groups and abilities, so attention should be paid towards the materials and types of play. Below you will find a few age-appropriate activities you may wish to try.
Sensory Play Activity Ideas for Babies, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers
Babies: Blow some bubbles into the air and watch as your baby observes them fall to the ground, float in water and the sensation as they land on their skin. Another fun idea is to use some multicoloured paper, scrunching it up and allowing them to hear the sounds, touch the paper and observe as it changes shape.
Toddlers: Using torches and a selection of objects, your toddler can observe and create exciting light patterns and shadows. Finger painting is another great idea which toddlers love, as they will have the opportunity to experiment with mixing different colours and create an artwork of their own.
Pre-schoolers: By this age, there are a wide range of sensory play activities to choose from. Sensory bins are always a lot of fun, along with slime, water play, musical instruments and kinetic sand.
Children of all ages will benefit from outdoor play, as nature provides endless opportunity to engage all the senses with its abundance of colours, textures, sounds, smells and movement.
Benefits of Sensory Play
Not only are sensory activities quick, easy and affordable to create, but they also provide valuable learning opportunities for children. Sensory activities encourage:
- Investigation and Exploration
- Independent play skills
- Creativity (imaginary/dramatic play)
- Development of fine motor skills
- An ability to focus on the task at hand by selectively blocking out noise
- Language development
- Problem solving skills
Schedule a Tour at Valley Heights Preschool Today
If you are looking to enrol your child in an early childhood educational program which encourages sensory play, Valley Heights Preschool would love to welcome you into our learning community. Please call today on (02) 9826 0266 to arrange a guided tour of our premises. We look forward to meeting you soon.