It’s easy to assume that children playing is just a fun way for them to pass the time, but there is actually a great deal of social, emotional, and neurological development that comes with play. Sensory play in particular is extremely important and healthy for growing minds and bodies.
What is Sensory Play?
Sensory play is just what it sounds like: playing that incorporates the senses. Activities, games, and crafts that engage children’s brains and sense of smell, touch, sound, sight, and even taste can be a part of sensory play. These may include playing with water beads, shaking a calming jar, or blowing bubbles.
Benefits of Sensory Play
There are a great number of benefits of sensory play to a child’s development. Here are just a few:
- Body Regulation
Sensory play helps children connect to their bodies and also regulate them. They can learn to be calm and still as their little hands play with something. They can also begin to develop certain preferences, and some children may be drawn to certain substances or activities, while others dislike them. Whether a child is at home, at school, at a therapy session, or in the hospital, sensory play helps them experience their physical bodies.
- Dealing With Disappointment
When children use playdough, blow bubbles, or play with paper mache, they sometimes get disappointed when things don’t turn out perfectly or exactly as they’d like. This is a good opportunity for them to learn how to experience frustration, then manage it. It can be a tough lesson to learn, but it can be good for them to learn that life isn’t always perfect.
- Emotional Bonding With Parents
Sensory play can be a great experience for parents and children to grow closer. When you are making something or experiencing something together, you are being creative, vulnerable, and having fun! It can be a chance to work together and share joy in making something new.