The 10 benefits of sensory play in early years
Dr. Maria Montessori has said that sensorial experiences start at birth....
Sensory play has many benefits, especially for children of young ages. In early years, children use their senses to understand and connect with the world around them.
In this post, you can find a brief description of 10 benefits of sensory play for babies, including things like building nerve connections, motor skills, and language development. You can also learn how this is a fun, simple way to help your child develop - touching different materials and enjoying different sounds.
1 - Emotional Regulation
One of the top benefits of sensory play in early years is the connection with emotional regulation
Connecting with their senses helps the child to be present and focused.
Research shows that playing with different textures and materials like water, sand, and rice helps to relieve tensions and stimulates positive emotions. Providing a sensory play space can help a child who feels irritable or nervous.
2 - Building nerve connections
Another Sensory Toys benefit is the ability to build new nerve connections.
At an early age, a child's brain has the ability to change, we call this brain plasticity. It needs free play experiences to generate new neural connections that can stimulate the child's cognitive development and essential skills such as reasoning and problem-solving.
3 - Motor skills
Sensory play also stimulates coordination and movement.
The child grabs, squeezes, and touches different materials.
Through these movements, the child strengthens muscles that will be useful to perform with more autonomy and various activities throughout her life.
4 - Language development
With the help of an adult, the child can expand her vocabulary or begin to develop language through sensory play. By observing the child, we can see what she needs and stimulate the language according to her level.
It is essential not to ask her questions about the experience that promote yes or no answers. Instead, you can ask questions like: How does it feel? Does it remind you of something?
5 - Learning through play
Play is a child's way of communicating; it is their language. Through play, children express themselves freely and learn from the environment, materials, and people around them.
I believe motivation is the best way to learn. Sensory play is a fun and simple way to help your child learn new knowledge and abilities.
6 - Cognitive Growth
Through sensory play, the child explores and discovers, creates different activities, discovers new colors, new objects, new textures, which stimulate their cognitive development.
Sensory play is an immersive activity where the child stimulates different areas of their development, promoting the reinforcement of several abilities based on the theory of multiple intelligences.
7 - Creativity
The moments of most significant learning are moments of motivation, where the child finds himself with great interest in the activity proposed.
Sensory play has no rules or steps to follow, allowing the child to use his imagination and create different activities and proposals, strengthening her creative abilities.
8 - Connection with natureThrough sensory play, the child connects with elements of nature (water, earth, sand, etc.).
By being in contact with nature, the child feels free, gets wet, gets messy, discovers new things, which generates a sense of connection, calmness and reinforces their learning processes.
9 - Social interactionHuman beings need bonding throughout life. Sensory play can create moments of cooperative play where the child learns to play with others and develops her social skills while nurturing essential values for her life (empathy, solidarity, kindness).
10 - Promotes autonomy
Children learn different skills through sensory play that will be valuable resources to be more independent.
Simple activities such as learning to eat alone or brush their teeth require the help of specific body muscles and coordination.
I hope this post helps see the benefits of sensory play and the importance of incorporating sensory toys at playtime. It is valuable to remember that parents and educators should choose materials and toys according to the child's stage of development and individual needs.
Looking for more? Check out our Dino World Sensory Play ebook ! We created this ebook to make it easier for parents to promote the learning and development of their children through sensory play. It has activities to play with a themed-based sensory box that you can build yourself!