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Understanding Sensory Play

Helping your child to embrace the use of their five senses is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Naturally, babies and infants will begin using and exploring their senses in order to understand the world and the events going on around them.

Senses are quite simply essential for babies and young children to begin piecing together information and understanding of people, places and objects around them. We all use senses throughout our daily lives to gain information but for babies and infants, it forms a key part of non-verbal communication.

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play is seen as vital for brain development and any chance to give a child the opportunity to use their senses will be beneficial.

Many people think that sensory play – especially for babies and children – is simply about feeling textures and watching colourful lights in a room. However, it can actually be seen as any activity, combined with movement and balance, which helps to stimulate a child’s sense of:

  • Smell
  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Taste
  • Touch

There are few limits with sensory play – you can be as creative as you like and use all sorts of locations, materials and games. All you’ll need to bear in mind is the age of the child and the setting in which you’re playing.

Examples of Sensory Play

If you’re keen to set up some sensory play for your baby or child, there are tonnes of great ideas out there. Experiment and monitor what your child enjoys, and adapt games and play accordingly.

Babies
  • Watching bubbles being blown
  • Jangling a set of keys
  • Scrunching up paper to ignite sight and sound
  • Feeling different textures such as reading a baby ‘touch and feel’ book
Toddlers
  • Making rainbows with crystals on a wall
  • Using torches to make shadows
  • Sponge or finger painting
  • Hitting a small drum or xylophone
Pre School Children
  • Playing with toys in a water bath
  • Making playdough
  • Group singing or music
  • Nature walks

If you’re looking for some extra ways to ignite your child’s senses through sensory play, our Educators are always happy to provide you with great recommendations that you can easily do at home. Not only is it a great way to support the development in your child during those all-important early years, but it’s also a fantastic way to spend some quality time together.