Playing isn't just something children do to pass the time, it is an imperative part of their learning and development. The more and varied opportunities a child has to play, the better chance they have at becoming successful and confident as they grow older. It also helps with social and emotional development, in learning to control their emotions and how to behave amongst peers. Through play, children learn boundaries, not just for their behaviour, but the boundaries of how their bodies work and how they are able to use them.
We use our senses daily, in our adult lives. Through smell, taste, touch, sight and sound, we can assess our surroundings and make choices based on the signals these senses send to our brain. Children are very sensitive beings and use their senses constantly. The signals their brains receive from sensory play helps with cognitive, fine motor, language and social and emotional development.
Sensory play is the exploration of the world through these five senses, which enables children to become independent and creative individuals.
Cause and Effect
By exploring with different liquids for example, children can learn what happens when they pour too much of a liquid into a container. This is cause and effect. Through life we use cause and effect to determine whether or not some situations are safe, or whether we should partake in certain activities from our weighing up of the pros and cons. This is all formed from early childhood and from our development of being able to assess the safety and reliability of our surroundings. This all comes from our senses and the ability to be able to discover the world around us!
Sensory play to a child is a science experiment. They weigh up the way objects and their own bodies work and move. These thought processes, build new connections in the brain's pathways, enabling the ability to partake in more complex tasks in the future. When using new resources/materials during sensory play, a child's brain is constantly taking in new information using their senses. The way it feels, smells, tastes, looks and sounds creates these new thought processes and by playing and being able to explore, their brains remember these sensations and feelings for further sessions of play.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skills help us to coordinate our bodies, using small muscle groups needed to do activities such as, tying shoe laces, holding a pencil and picking up small objects from the floor, which need finer skill. We develop our fine motor skills through every day activities. However, through sensory play, we can harness these skills, through the pushing, pulling, pouring, pinching and lacing needed for a lot of these activities. This enhances a child's physical abilities.
Sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain's pathways and has a huge impact on a child's language development. Playing together gives many opportunities to talk to your child about what they are experiencing - the way an object feels, what they see, what they predict will happen, how it makes them feel etc. It can also be an opportunity to give your child instruction/commands. This builds on their vocabulary, enabling them to build sentences and generate thoughts into words.
When playing with peers and other adults, a child can pick up on social cues of how to behave. For example, sharing is a learned behaviour and whilst observing other children sharing and taking turns with toys, a child will then learn this behaviour for further social interactions (although it often takes time to put into action).
A lot of these development milestones, come hand in hand. Sensory play has many benefits and can be achieved with minimum adult interaction if needed. With imagination, the simplest toy can become an array of wonderful objects. At Flutterbyandbee, we want to enable little ones to learn and grow in safe, loving environments, whilst caring for our planet too! This is why it is very important for us to be a hub of sustainable, fun toys, gifts and accessories for your little ones.
Our range of Stacking toys are the perfect instruments for sensory play. Used with water, sand and endless other materials, they can be used to stack, scoop, pour, float and more!
Discover our range of stacking toys at: Toys | Flutterbyandbee