However play can activate the senses in children by jumping on the trampoline or the whizzy dizzy, great exercise as well as being fun and working on gross motor skills. This also works on the vestibular and proprioceptive senses – beneficial for many children with additional sensory needs.
The great news for educators and parents alike is that sensory play benefits all children, not just those with additional needs. Provisions you put in place to make learning more accessible for those who need extra help will not hinder those that don’t in any way; in fact, it helps them too. Watch children expressions as they play with sensory materials from joy, excitement, frustrated, surprised and elated.
Children who are hypersensitive to different textures may find it hard to enjoy getting messy. Tactile shells with dough or Rainbow Pebbles are a ‘clean’ outlet for creative expression, allowing children with sensory issues the opportunity to exercise their creativity and imaginations like their neurotypical peers.
Sensory and messy play has been found to foster the development of many key foundation skills of a child from.
By activating their senses with these new experiences they are creating different experiences to talk about developing language, increasing their vocabulary and communication through play.
Social and Emotional development
Children use their decision making skills with sensory play by choosing what they will create, how does it feel, what will they do. They take pride in their predications, whilst making informal observations and respond to their findings.
Express their feeling through playing which could be reliving tension through feeling water, pushing, pulling, pounding dough, testing their boundaries in a safe environment as well as experimenting with concepts.
Whilst playing with the sensory materials (water, sand, rice, etc) the children develop their fine motor skills such as pouring, measuring, stirring, whisking and manipulating with their hands. Depending on the activity they can develop gross motor skills and so much more.
Children can express their creativity and innovate how they feel necessary in order to complete a task given. Again we have to remember it is how they use the material is much more important than what they make with it. Developing the fine and gross motor skills, problem solving, cognitive development is the main aim.
Sensory play is a fantastic way to enrich the learning environment for all children. Edx Education have a great selection of active play educational resources available on www.shopedx.co.uk
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By Heather Welch, International Brand Manager, Edx Education