Sensory play is a favorite for my kids. I totally love it as well. It is a time where we can all let loose and be messy, silly, and goofy! Often, it can change a day that is spiraling out of control into an amazingly awesome day. Seriously, I cannot say enough of how much we love and have embraced sensory play.
I have only recently incorporated planned sensory play into our schedule. I wish that I had started this when Alex was younger, I think that he could have truly benefited from it. I have always allowed Alex to play and get dirty but I could have engaged in much more sensory play with him when he was younger to help him. He has displayed some sensory processing issues, mainly with touch and hearing, I feel sensory play would have helped. Better late than never, Alex is 6 years old and loves sensory play time.
I feel that all children, sensory processing disorder or not, benefit tremendously through sensory play. Ava and Audrey love sensory play just as much as Alex!
If you have never heard of sensory play you have probably participated in it with your children or in your childhood. Sensory play is a fun and messy type of play. Sensory play utilizes all 5 senses, but the sense of touch is often the most frequent and fun focus of this messy play!
Sensory play involves any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Stimulating children’s senses helps them develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally,
Sensory play is process-driven and a very pure type of exploratory learning. Sensory play encourages children to manipulate and mold materials on their own. This type of play helps a child learn about their bodies and their minds through exploration of familiar and sometimes new materials.
Alex has always had an issue engaging with other children. When sensory play is introduced he quickly becomes engaged and it strengthens the sense that he is engaging boosting his self-esteem.
Sensory play can help to calm a cranky and irritated child. Sensory play stimulates the senses and sends signals to children’s brains that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning. It is a great way to burn off some steam as well. When things get tense around the house and the bickering starts among my children I try to present a sensory play activity, it really turns their moods around.
This works wonders for Ava and Audrey. The other night I was cooking dinner when both girls were having meltdowns. I gave them each an egg container with colored shaving cream and paint brushes and stuck them in the bath to paint. They had a blast and came out of the tub calmer and happier little girls.
For Alex, sensory play helps to motivate him and get him going. If he has been playing with Lego’s or video games for an extended period of time I often call him outside for some seriously fun sensory play. It makes him almost giddy, which is saying a lot for this kid!
I hope to begin creating more sensory bins for my kids to play with and more sensory play activities. Of course I will blog about them here!
Here are some sites that you can read more about & get ideas to create fun sensory play:
At childcare and beyond you can find some homemade sensory ideas
Play at Home Mom has a ton of great ideas.
Currently, shaving cream is the favorite in our home!
If you have any sensory ideas, or have links to your sensory play blog posts…please leave a comment.