Children learn as they use their senses to explore the world around them. Incorporating sensory play will greatly benefit brain development by creating strong neural pathways and will help them understand more complicated tasks and improve cognitive growth.
Learn more about the importance of sensory play to brain development in your child.
What Is Sensory Play?
Sensory play engages any of the seven senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, sound, body awareness, and balance. Body awareness, or proprioception, is the sense of where our physical bodies are in space.
Sensory play is only limited by imagination. Here are some examples:
- Taste — Have your child guess the fruits in a smoothie.
- Touch — Bubbles landing on a babies’ skin or fingerpainting for older children.
- Smell— Play memory by matching tea bags or household spices by smell.
- Sight— Create shapes and animals with shadow puppets.
- Sound— Play different musical instruments and try to guess the note or chord.
- Body Awareness— Touch their nose with eyes closed or walk on different terrain, like sand to concrete.
- Balance — Play hopscotch or jump rope.
Essential Benefits of Sensory Play
There are many benefits found in engaging your child in sensory play. These include:
- Building solid neural connections in the brain, which leads to increased cognitive ability. Sensory play also improves problem-solving skills.
- Sensory play will enhance your child’s memory. Memories are always stronger when your senses are involved.
- Sensory play has shown lots of promise for calming children with anxiety. Items that they can squish or manipulate are beneficial. Music can also soothe anxious children. Sensory play is also helpful for adults with intellectual disabilities.
- Engaging in sensory play will help your child improve their language skills. As a result, they’ll enjoy increased interaction with other children. Sensory play is essential in developing social skills.
Understanding the importance of sensory play to brain development will enable you to enrich your child’s playtime and give them more opportunities to increase their critical thinking and social skills.