The Benefits of Sensory Play in Childhood Development
Published on Friday, November 3rd, 2023
Children are naturally curious and absolutely love exploring the world around them through their senses. Sensory play includes activities involving touch, smell, sight, sound and taste, but it also covers movement, balance and spatial awareness. Sensory play is a vital component of childhood development and research shows that exposure to sensory-rich environments positively influence cognitive development. This type of play, where children explore various materials, textures, sounds, smells and sights can invite children into a world of limitless exploration.
The types of sensory play align with the five senses. Here are the different types:
1.) Tactile Play – Development of Touch through temperature, pressure, vibrations and so much more.
2.) Vestibular Play – Development of balance through rolling around, hanging, swinging, and jumping.
3.) Proprioception Play – Development of spatial awareness through pushing, pulling, and jumping.
4.) Auditory Play – Development of hearing sounds such as bang! Boom! and Clash!
5.) Visual Play –Development of vision and sight through identifying colors and patterns.
6.) Olfactory and Taste Play – Development of taste and smell through smelling flowers
and taste testing other materials.
Some of the many benefits sensory play can have in your child’s development are:
1.) Creativity – Sensory toys can instinctively inspire and facilitate creativity due to the variety of elements that are included. The freedom to experiment with different sensory inputs inspires imaginative play and self-expression.
2.) Self-Regulation – This ability plays a large role early on in a child’s life, as well as when they grow into adults. Allowing children to control their sensory experiences empowers them to manage their emotions and reactions.
3.) Problem Solving – Sensory play often involves open-ended materials which encourage problem-solving. Children solve challenges through their play, whether it’s creating art with sand, or manipulating a squishy toy.
Sensory play can be fun for children at any age. At Stepping Stone School we love learning through play! Play is an integral part of our daily curriculum.