Benefits of Sensory Play by Farah Ghazale
The below article is written by Farah Ghazale who is a mother, teacher and the amazing creative genius behind Miss Farah Tutorials, you can visit her website or check her out on Instagram @missfarah.tutorials.
Children use their senses to explore. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing. We need to provide opportunities for children to use their senses which is crucial to the child’s brain development.
To stimulate our child’s senses we need to include sensory play activities to facilitate exploration and naturally encourage them to create, investigate and explore.
A child who is fussy with eating certain foods , the use of sensory play can assist the child in touching, smelling and playing with the texture. When the child develops understanding of the texture he will eventually become familiar with this food.
Benefits of sensory play:
1- Encourages the development of fine and gross motor skills: When the child is playing and moving his hand muscles to feel the texture, he is enhancing the hand and body muscles using repetitive movements.
2- Encourages problem solving, exploration and creativity: Children love to push, pull, scoop and transfer, squish and pour objects. These actions promote creativity and playing with the item in different ways.
3- Calms anxious children: Children engaged in sensory play like playing with sand, bubbles, play dough, soap, goop etc… distracts the upset child and promotes mindfulness.
4- Helps with sensory processing issues: Many kids are picky eaters because they are struggling with sensory processing issues which can affect kids’ eating habits in different ways. Some kids are oversensitive to the texture of food or the smell and seek out bland food instead. Most importantly do not pressure your child, make food fun!
Here are a few of many sensory play activity ideas that you can try with your child:
- Taste- safe sand: 4 cups plain flour and 1 cup melted coconut oil. Mix and play
- Home-made play dough: 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup salt, 2 cups boiled water, 2 tbsp oil, food colouring
- Goop: 2 cups corn starch , 1 cup water and food colouring
- Snow dough: 3 cups baking soda and 1/2 cup hair conditioner
- Spaghetti: Cook some spaghetti and spread them.
- Freezer bags: Place peas, beans or any type of seeds in a freezer bag. Add some water and seal well. Have your child move them around.
- Peeled fruits and vegetables: Peel some apples or carrots or any fruit or vegetable with a grater. Have your child play and eat.
- Taste-safe mud: 2 cups corn starch, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 cup water. Then add some toys like trucks and cars
- Ice: Put some ice cubes in freezer bags and have your child feel the bag. Or you can place them in a tub.
Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, who often have the time to play and explore at home, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. Engaging your child in sensory play helps prepare them for life ahead.
For sensory play ideas you can visit Farah Ghazale's website or check her out on Instagram @missfarah.tutorials.