This article has been written by early years consultant, Anne Rodgers, from ATR Consultancy. What is sensory play? Sensory play includes activities that stimulate children’s…
The Importance of Sensory Play for Early Years
Look. Listen. Touch. Taste. Smell.
From birth, children are exploring their senses and processing new information. They begin to make sense of the world around them as they grow through the exploration of new textures, materials and resources. Sensory play is a valuable way of engaging children in activities that will heighten their senses and enrich their learning.
Is sensory play really that important?
Yes! Sensory play encourages discovery and independent thinking, as well as inspiring imagination and creativity. Research shows that there are many different ways in which sensory play can benefit a child’s development and learning.
Here are some of the key benefits of sensory play:
Engaging a child in sensory play helps strengthen their brain development for learning, which enhances their memory and ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
Sensory play helps children learn new ways of talking about the world. It supports their language development and encourages them to communicate effectively with others whilst playing. Our Sensory Wooden Pack encourages children to talk about the new textures and shapes they feel and is a great aid for developing language!
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Children identify objects by touch during tactile sensory play, which helps them develop their fine and gross motor skills – such as squeezing, pulling, pushing and throwing. Add our Multi-Sensory Ball Pack to your early years setting to help them develop their motor skills, stimulate their senses and enhance their physical ability.
Problem Solving Skills
By experimenting with different objects during sensory play, children develop problem-solving skills and decision-making skills. They begin to find solutions to obstacles they come across during sensory play – such as ‘how to make sand stick together’.
Sensory play supports a child’s cognitive growth; enhancing their thought process, understanding and reasoning. As children manipulate new materials, they learn to understand new concepts – such as ‘sink and float’. Using interactive resources, such as Fidget Packs, will help develop a child’s cognitive hand and eye coordination.
A positive sensory play environment encourages children to interact and work with others effectively, which is essential for a child’s development. They begin to share their ideas and build new relationships. A Sand or Water Table is a popular way of encouraging social interaction!
Active sensory play helps children become more self-aware and body-aware, which helps them develop a better sense of space around them.
Therapeutic sensory play, using items such as light up toys and therapy balls, can help calm an anxious or restless child. Try our exciting Sensory Ball Pool for calming tactile and visual stimuli or add our beautiful Jelly Fish Tank to your sensory play room to soothe them.
Sensory play encourages children to adapt in new situations. They begin to learn that they can use sensory play resources in a variety of ways and differentiate between different scenarios through discovery.
Sensory Play Resources and Equipment
Enhance a child’s development and stimulate their senses with our extensive range of Sensory Play Equipment and Resources for your primary school, nursery, preschool or early years setting.
Extending from sensory tables to light panels and balls, our fantastic selection of Sensory Play items includes mesmerising sensory lights and captivating sensory toys – ideal for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and primary school children. We stock a wonderful range of sensory cushions, furniture, boards, play mats, toys, accessories, sensory sound and much more. Create your enchanting sensory room with Early Years Resources today!