Sensory Play and How it Helps Development
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates all of your child’s senses. Sensory activities naturally encourage kids to explore their world using scientific processes. You’ve probably seen examples of sensory play: water tables, edible art supplies, etc. Here is how sensory play helps development.
Sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain
By experimenting with multiple senses, children build more nerve connections in their brains. (Generally speaking, having more nerve connections means you’re likely to think better and faster.)
It’s a fairly simple formula. If a child is watching someone perform a task, their brain is building connections that relate to sight. But if the child is watching someone perform a task and feeling, hearing, smelling (and maybe even tasting) how it’s done, they build exponentially more connections and learn the task more thoroughly.
This extends beyond the childhood years. Most people, in fact, learn better when they do something.
Sensory play is calming and soothing
For the most part, dedicated sensory play requires a lot of focus. Your child’s brain is being engaged on multiple levels, so there’s no room for absent thoughts or distractions. This single-mindedness regulates discomfort, agitation, restlessness and anxiety. It’s the perfect type of play to have at the beginning of your bedtime routine.
It develops fine motor skills
Gross motor skills typically develop first – the crawling, running, jumping, etc. Fine motor skills take a bit more time. Sensory activities typically involve tiny pieces to manipulate – snapping, zipping, buttoning, pinching, tying, squeezing, and sorting.
Sensory play teaches the scientific method
If you can recall from school, the scientific method is a process of figuring things out. We make a guess, test our assumption and draw conclusions. It’s a fantastic way to explore the world and a method we definitely want our kids to know.
Sensory play teaches them to experiment with objects. How does this button feel? If it’s dropped, what will it sound like? If one end of the goopy slime is squeezed, what happens to the other? Eventually children will anticipate the behavior and characteristics of some objects based on the data they have collected.
It teaches new ways of talking about the world
Sensory play offers opportunities to use language that might not ordinarily come up by teaching them the attributes of objects and how those objects differ from one another. For example, every tree might be a “tree,” but after careful sensory observation, a tree might become “a smooth sapling” or “rough and smells like pine.”
You can buy specialty toy sets designed to stimulate a child’s senses, but the best way to encourage sensory play is to let your kids get their hands dirty and explore the world!
Written by Dr. Nina Farzin, Inventor of oogiebear
Nina is a wife, mother and career professional who never intended to start her own business. When her children were newborns, she ached to ease the discomfort from dry, stubborn, crusty mucus (boogers)! As a doctor, she knew there were no safe solutions on the market to help her kids, so she invented oogiebear, a revolutionary booger removal tool that helps babies breathe easier.
Nina graduated Howard University where she earned her doctorate in Pharmacy (R.Ph, Pharm.D). She is a Registered Pharmacist in Washington DC, Maryland and New York. Nina and her family are fitness enthusiasts who enjoy outdoor activities and healthy eating.
For more information, please visit myoogie.com.
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