Why is Sensory Play Important for Children’s Development?

July 28, 2022 2:27 pm
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Sensory play is essential to brain development. It has been proven that children in early years learn their best when their senses are fully engaged in activities. Read on to find out why using all senses helps children to develop…

We need to experience certain things using our senses before being expected to know how to do them. This is why sensory play is so important in the development of children.

Sensory Play Activities Help the Development of:

  • Cognitive Skills (thinking, reading, learning, remembering and reasoning)
  • Social Skills (Forming relationships and interacting with others)
  • Emotional Management Skills (dealing with emotions)
  • Physical ability (fine and gross motor skills)
  • Creative Skills (using materials to express creativity)
  • Linguistic skills (language, communication and vocabulary)

So how does this work in practice…

…When any of your senses are stimulated, your brain triggers a memory to help you develop and learn:

“Imagine trying to teach a group of 4 year olds about melting without allowing them to hold an ice cube as it melts in their hands or to watch cheese on bread under a grill!” – Angie Dorrell, NAEYC representative

As children make a mess, pour, drop, scoop and explore they are learning concepts along with language and vocabulary which are very important for early year’s development. Some examples of materials you could use for sensory play in your setting could be:

  • Playdough
  • Texture balloons
  • Shells with water
  • Oil and ice
  • Slime/Foam and many more

Incorporating specific activities based on sensory play into your practise will be beneficial to the children in your care. Take a look at our pack of fun sensory activities for children in early years to help save you time – created in partnership with practising early years experts.

Other articles that may of interest:

In Moment’ Planning – Child Initiated Play

Ideas and Activities for Outdoor Learning