Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Activating your child’s senses through play!

From birth, children use their senses to make sense of the world around them. A child is most engaged when they activate their senses – touching, smelling, seeing, tasting, moving and hearing. When activated, their ability to learn and retain information is at its peak.

Research looking into childhood development found sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, bolstering a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks. Interestingly, the same report indicated from birth to age five, children are at the peak of brain development with 90 percent of a child’s brain being developed before they begin school.

Learning and exploring through sensory play is a vital part of early childhood development. Play gives your child with the opportunity to actively engage their senses, empower natural exploration and instigates brain development.  

Here’s what you need to know…

What is sensory play?

Sensory play involves participating in activities that engage a child’s senses, be it touch, smell, sight or hearing as well as movement, balance and space awareness.

Sensory play begins at birth and is carried through to early primary schooling. The more activities that engage a child’s senses whether it be facilitating exploration, creativity or encouraging critical thinking skills all contribute to activating the nerve connections that facilitate brain development and stronger connections to process, respond and recall information.

How to adopt sensory play into your child’s playtime activities?

Sensory play stimulates all the senses whilst children participate in playtime. For a child, play is their way of learning and by adopting play-based learning into this environment, brain activity is stimulated. This includes challenged thinking processes, decision-making, critical thinking, social skills, emotional growth, expressive language and fine motor skills. 

As your child activates all their senses during play the results for learning are limitless.  We see sensory play as an opportunity for children to explore, learn, retain and recall information in while engaging heir creative and imaginative thinking. 

How to initiate sensory play with your child?

Sensory play works best when a child is interested in the topic/ theme. For instance, if a child is interested in trucks and digger trucks then a construction theme sensory box is the key to grasp their attention. Once engaged in the activity, then use the box as a tool to extend and challenge their learning.

What are the benefits of Sensory Play?

Beyond keeping your child highly engaged, fun and occupied for hours the benefits of sensory play are endless including:

  • Creates tactile awareness
  • Creativity and imagination 
  • Builds language development 
  • Promotes receptive skills
  • Ignites imagination and creation 
  • Develops problem solving skills and concentration 
  • Improves fine motor skills
  • Hand and eye coordination 
  • Strengthening of hands and fingers 
  • Stress management tool 
  • Numeracy and Mathematical skills 
  • Dramatic play 
  • Scientific thinking