Why sensory play?
Any play that engages your child’s senses is sensory play. Both children and adults learn better when they can explore a new concept or activity with their senses, according to PBS Parents. This is because our brain is built to connect memories with a sensory experience. Parents can help their children pick up on difficult or abstract ideas through activities that encourage them to touch, taste, smell, see, and hear. “Even exposing your child to organized sensory activities for five to 10 minutes daily can be very beneficial to his or her developmental growth,” says Kyle Heebner, occupational therapist at HM Therapy Services in southern California. Before you get started implementing sensory activities for kids, it is important to aim to keep these activities fun and motivating, according to Heebner. “Frustration, tension, and or lack of motivation can have negative outcomes,” he explains. “If you find your child or yourself becoming frustrated, take a break, make changes, or begin a completely different activity at another time.”
Sensory tables are popular in early education schools, but you can easily mimic them at home without breaking the bank. Purchase an inexpensive sensory table online or use plastic containers of varying sizes to create one using a table you already own. Fill the containers with everyday items of different shapes, sizes, and textures. (Think large dried beans, feathers, or sand.) Give your children empty cups and measuring spoons or bowls and allow them the freedom to explore these items. Sensory tables can be used to teach wide variety of lessons, but one simple activity is building language skills. Engage the sense of touch and teach your child to use words like rough, smooth, wet, or heavy. Check out other fun indoor activities for toddlers.