Its messy, its exciting and it definitely makes for some great photo ops but what is the real reason we want parents and babies to engage in sensory play?
Ever wonder why EVERYTHING your child picks up goes straight in to their mouths? Its because their senses are the most basic way of learning about the world around them.
You have seen the pictures and you have heard the term "Sensory Play" but what exactly does this entail and why is this type of play so beneficial? Lets take a look at all the benefits of this wonderful program.
1. Brain Development
Scientific studies show that when children participate in sensory play they are building stronger nerve connections in pathways in the brain. This allows for a child to complete more complex learning tasks. When a child is using multiple senses to complete a task they learn more from the experience and are likely to retain more information.
2. Language Development
When the parent and child participate in sensory play together there is a wonderful opportunity to enhance language development. As the child explores their messy play offering them words to describe the sensation can increase their vocabulary at an earlier age. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to sensory play have a larger vocabulary earlier on then their peers who have not had the opportunity to participate in sensory play.
3. Motor Skills, Fine and Gross
During sensory activities there are a variety of materials provided for children to explore. From developing a stronger pincer grasp to crawling in and out of bins sensory classes are a great way to assist your child in these essential skills. With many different materials children can develop skills such as squeezing, pushing, balancing, and throwing. Creating this muscle memory early on will only strengthen the motor skills in your child.
4. Problem Solving
Pulling items out of the way, moving materials to the side to explore other items are just a few ways that children can work on their problem solving skills during sensory play. Creating situations of object permanence, burying objects, using sticky materials are all great ways to give your child the freedom to problem solve on their own.
When a child is introduces to a sensory play class it will be nothing like they have experienced before. There will be textures, smells, sights and sounds that may otherwise have never entered their world. Providing them with the opportunity to adapt to new surroundings, figuring out how interact with each bin will further develop your child's ability and willingness to adapt to new situations.
Not only will your child experience all of the benefits listed above but also social interaction, proprioception (body awareness) and emotional regulation. Watch your child explore the world around them, enhance their development growth and capture some of the most adorable photoworthy moments!