THE IMPORTANCE OF SENSORY PLAY

THE IMPORTANCE OF SENSORY PLAY

Sensory play is an activity that can stimulate the senses; which would be smell, touch, taste or hearing. By stimulating these senses, children are able to develop and strengthen physical and social skills. Sensory play allows children to focus on these senses, it allows children to see how the body can experience the entire world and everything within it.

THE BENEFITS:

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Sensory play strengthens nerve connections in the brain, ultimately strengthening your child’s cognitive growth, fine motor skills and development. It can also encourage problem solving as well as independent thinking. 

CALMING SKILLS

Some sensations can be soothing to a small child, by replicating these through sensory play you can begin to learn what also calms down your child. Sensory play can also help with sensitivities, slow exposure to different environments, and allowing them to play with different textures can be helpful to overcome their fears, like picky eating.

RETENTION SKILLS

Sensory play can strengthen information and learning retention. By learning by playing, children are engaged and ready to learn more, and begin to experience what they are playing with.

LANGUAGE SKILLS

Sensory play can also open up a whole new experience for learning new words – what are the textures of things? Hard or soft? Loud or quiet? These encourage new describing words for children, by teaching new describing words of senses, you are ultimately widening their vocabulary.

MEMORY ENHANCEMENT

Whenever you associate a smell, feeling to another play, you are ultimately flooded with memories. The same happens with sensory play when senses are tied to memories, sensory activities can therefore enhance development within the brain.

SENSORY PLAY CAN BE SIMPLE!

You can choose to put together complex sensory bins and experiences – as it is a great way to allow your child to experience sensory play, but sensory play can be simple as well. For strengthening sight, take a walk and let your child point out everything they see – whether it be colour, shapes or objects. With sound try altering your voice between high and low for your child, tapping objects or even making instruments from home. For touch, various fabrics could work, play with water – let your child experience and feel the world. As Long as you bring your child’s attention to the things around them, allow your child to lead the way and guide as they explore the world!

DEVELOPING FINE MOTOR SKILLS

THE BENEFITS OF FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Fine motor skills can be as simple as holding a pencil, writing or even getting dressed. Majority of these things are included in school activities and are necessities throughout life. The coordination of your child’s small muscles and movements is extremely important as they grow up.

Mother and son playing

INDEPENDENCE

This is the number benefit of developing fine motor skills. Independence is a core like skill, it’s something that feeds a child’s ability to try new things and take on challenges – something which they work on from birth. The more children feel in control, and in power of their surroundings, the more this confidence will grow. It allows them to attempt many independent skills, such as tidying up after themselves or getting dressed.

HELPS WITH DAILY ACTIVITIES

As mentioned prior, improving fine motor skills can encourage your child to dress themselves. This may encourage them to continue trying new things, as they are keen to continue being more independent. Something as simple as turning a door handle can improve fine motor skills, as well as overcoming obstacles. They are also able to begin feeding themselves, allowing them to explore their food and become a more independent eater.

HAND-EYE COORDINATION

This is another aspect of fine-motor skills, that keeps developing from childhood all the way to adulthood. When children interact with fine-motor skills, such as eating, getting dressed etc they are constantly improving the link between their eyes and hands. Furthermore, hand-eye coordination has shown to benefit parent-child communication and early communicative skills. As children begin to follow their parents gaze, and combine their joint attention and focus.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS ACTIVITIES; PAINTING

Different types of painting can strengthen hand-eye coordination skills, such as finger painting which allows children to have fun and get messy! While using a brush encourages them to gain better control of an object.

PLAY DOUGH

This sensory product can be used to encourage your child to make animals, pinch, roll or squeeze. This will ultimately improve your child’s fine motor skills, as well as a fun activity!

WATER PLAY

Having your child transfer one cup of water to another, you could do this by using an eyedropper or measuring spoons. By adding food colouring, you could make this not only a fine-motor skills activity, but a colour experiment one too!

WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU START TEACHING YOUR CHILD THE ALPHABET?

Mother and daughter
alphabet A-Z

Teaching your child the alphabet can seem like a tedious task! Those pesky 26 letters can seem daunting, and something that should be handled at school – but at what age should we really start teaching our children the alphabet?

 

3 seems to be the appropriate age of when the alphabet should be explored, studies have shown that between the stages of birth to five years, toddlers brains are highly impressionable. Furthermore, the brain’s ability to accept change decreases with age, making it more effective and easier to influence a toddlers developing brain with letters – then having to teach them when they’re older!

 

Remember, most children aren’t reading from the ages of 3 and 5 – simply learning to recognise letters and begin associating them with sounds. By visually showing your child the ABCs while repeating the letters, it allows them to use three different areas of the cortex to process the information – specifically the visual cortex.

 

However, don’t let science worry you! Don’t feel the pressure to begin teaching your children the alphabet straight away! While impressionable, many young children may reject the teaching, simply because it’s not interesting or fun to them. 

 

So here’s some top tips to simplify the teaching of the alphabet, and make it a fun experience for all involved!:

START SIMPLE!

Introduce the alphabet and its main features to begin with – refrain from complicated terms, and even explain letters in terms of “big” and “tiny”.

Simply explain what letters are, how they make up the alphabet – start by teaching your child their name! This will make the alphabet appear personal to them, and show the importance of it within daily life.

MAKE IT FUN!

Help your child make their own painted alphabet chart that allows you to explore a letter each week, listen to some fun alphabet songs or even a simple letter matching activity! Fun options can always be discovered with a quick google search.

DON'T STRESS!

Don’t concern yourself with the pressure of creating the next Einstein! You’ll understand your child better than anyone, there are always support networks to get you through teaching the ABCs.