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The Benefits of Sensory Play

Kiddi Caru - 26th October 2022

Sensory play helps children thrive in their early years and beyond, read on to find out why.

  • What is sensory play?
  • What are the benefits of sensory play?
  • Sensory activity ideas.

What is sensory play?

From a very young age, children are continuously using their senses to discover and make sense of the world around them. Sensory play is essentially any activity that stimulates our senses such as touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. Sensory activities can be anything from simply finger painting to just going outside and exploring nature with your little one. These experiences and activities support children to use the ‘scientific method’ of observing, forming a hypothesis, experimenting, and making conclusions.

What are the benefits of sensory play?

Sensory play is crucial to the development of the brain. From birth to age five, we see a rapid rate of brain development – 90% of a child’s brain is developed before they even go to school.

Here are some of the key benefits of sensory play:

  • Helps build social skills
  • Encourages the development of motor skills
  • Helps with language development
  • Develops creativity
  • It’s fun!

Helps build social skills

At our nurseries, we get little ones involved with group sensory activities which provides the perfect opportunity to help build social skills with other children. The children may spend time discussing the objects or texture within the activity or possibly even team up to take part in the activity together – helping them to develop the ability to play and communicate with others.

Encourages motor skill development

Sensory play and activities can be a great time to develop fine motor skills through the action of holding or gripping different objects such as pens, paint brushes or cups. Practicing simple skills like this are incredibly important for development and are useful for little ones later in life.

Helps with language development

Activities involving sensory play can provide a fantastic opportunity for children to learn new sounds and talk about what they are engaging with in the activity. This could be anything from speaking about the activity to describing the smell or texture of an object to your child.  

Helps develop creativity

Sensory play can be the best time and place to encourage creativity and for children to think outside the box and explore. The opportunities in sensory play are endless! Although the main aim of sensory play is to provide experiences to help develop their five senses, it doesn’t stop you engaging with your little to come up with new and fun ideas for play. You could create anything from pumpkin sensory bags to an under the sea themed water play activity!

Examples of sensory play:

At all of our nurseries we carry out a lot of different activities to encourage children to explore every one of their senses and here are some of their favourites:

  • Messy play: Think outside of the box, literally! Why not embrace the mess and make a mud kitchen, edible paint or make art using shaving foam.
  • Sensory boxes: These can be filled up using anything, such as sand, mud, water or even pasta!
  • Sensory bottles: A fab way to recycle any stray water bottles you have around the house. You can fill them up with water and add food colouring, glitter and washing up liquid to create bubbles. Super easy!

We recognise that children are powerful learners from birth and that they not only learn through play, but that play is so essential for a child’s wellbeing and development, it is part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

Our combination of child and adult initiated play-based activities, experiences and opportunities are fundamental to our curriculum approach, which supports our company mission and vision to provide exceptional education and care and to inspire lifelong learning by recognising and realising the unique potential of every child.

We aim to create a nurturing and inspiring learning environment full of awe and wonder where children feel safe; where they can explore, experiment, discover and ultimately flourish.

Please note: It is important to make sure that any activities you do are suitable for the age of your little one. For babies, make sure small objects are avoided to eliminate any potential choking hazards.

Are you looking for a nursery near you?

Find the perfect nursery or preschool place and Book A Visit at your local day nursery today.

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