Have you ever heard of sensory play?
Sensory play is an experience-based form of learning that allows children to experiment through the five senses.
Children are, by nature, scientists, investigators, and explorers with all the materials they find around them.
Before technology, kids used to go outside to play; for example, they collected sticks, flowers, and some stones to play with and count.
Now, everything is different!
Many children are forced to play at home or indoors; video games, television, and computers are the main indoor play activities.
Well, in case you are a first-time parent or someone who wants to get the best out of kids’ toys, let me tell you more about:
- The definition of sensory play
- What the sensory toys are
- Why it is essential to introduce them to your kid.
Let’s find out more in detail…
What Is Sensory Play?
Sensory play is a fun and engaging way to play and learn with endless benefits for your child’s development.
It is about allowing them to experience the world through their senses.
Any device can provide entertainment, but it will never be fully capable of allowing your kid to experience the world fully.
It must be understood that devices also have their limitations.
Most importantly, this playful method has endless benefits for the child’s development, essentially through touch.
Sensory Toys Ideas
Many toys on the market encourage sensory play in all stages of your kids’ life..
Even for infants!
There is nothing extraordinary about them, and they are usually very accessible. However, the primary key is showing your kid the right way to use them.
Here are some ideas of sensory plays that your kid will enjoy and get real benefits:
- Painting using their little fingers.
- Creating shapes with Play-Doh.
- Playing with teddy bears and dolls.
- Rubber and other textured balls.
- Building blocks with Lego
- Mini blankets with different textures
- Textured and musical toys – like playmates.
Every child needs an opportunity to experience the world in actual senses.
By not giving the sensory play the importance it deserves, your child may not learn as effectively as when they are fully physically involved in their learning by creating meaningful experiences.
Screens Vs. Real Games
Undoubtedly, the traditional option is often the best…
Of course, technology allows us to improve and develop better and better alternatives, but we cannot completely forget what we have left behind.
The key is to be smart and carefully evaluate the best resources to stimulate children’s senses.
Screens don’t provide real learning!
A four-year-old child can play games on a tablet, but if he cannot do them in the real world, he might have some difficulties, like motor, Spatio-temporal structuring, coordination, attention, memory, etc.
Similarly, a five-year-old child may build a 64-piece puzzle on a computer or tablet and subsequently struggle with a game that does not include a digital device.
Since many times it is impossible to disconnect from technology completely, it is necessary that as parents, we manage the time our children spend in front of the screens well.
That’s being said,
They must spend time doing actual activities, playing with different objects, and interacting with real people.
The Health Importance of Sensory Toys
Sensory play can be any activity that awakens the motivation of exploring through using the kid’s senses.
These activities range from yoga to dance, from sand manipulation games to the use of finger paints.
Sensory play improves the way a child reacts to their environment through the five senses.
Little kids are eager to use their senses to hear, touch, see, taste, and smell anything new around them..
While your baby grows, his need to discover the world around him continues.
While playing with sensory toys, your kid will naturally develop his emotions, behaviors, social skills, and cognitive abilities.
The main advantages of sensory play are:
- Improving motor coordination skills.
- Developing fine and gross motor skills.
- Exercising patience.
- Learning the cause and effect relationship.
- Increasing creativity and imagination.
- Developing problem-solving skills.
- Stimulating decision-making.
- Improving emotional well-being.
- Developing social skills such as cooperation.
- Security development.
Finally, remember that exploring takes time…
If you give your kid the opportunity to be connected with his surroundings, he will use his senses to explore and discover everything around him, which will definitely take time!
Once your kid’s senses are busy exploring, his undesired behaviors will fade away naturally..
Children will find joy and enthusiasm for learning, leading them throughout their lives.
Rather than spending more time in front of the screen, consider the sensory play options.
Who doesn’t learn by playing with sand on the beach or with rubber dolls? Help your children acquire TRUE sensory experiences for better and healthier development.
Dema JS is the founder of newbabysmell.com and a mother of two little kids. Dema had her MBA from St. John’s University- NYC in dual concentrations: Executive Management and Marketing Management.