Play helps children develop and improve their gross and fine motor skills, coordination and concentration. It is how they learn to work cooperatively and collaboratively, develop their imagination, creative thinking and ability to problem solve. Sensory Play is one type of play to plan for on your playground.
What is Sensory Play?
Sensory play is more than just touching or tactile experiences. It includes any activity that stimulates the senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing. Sensory play is a way for children to discover and explore their environment while they play and create.
Sensory play is needed by all children, not just those who may have sensory integration issues. All children need to learn how to use their senses, experiencing sights, sounds, smells, touch and tastes. Sensory play:
- Helps build nerve connections in the brain.
- Encourages the development of motor skills.
- Supports language development.
- Encourages “scientific thinking” and problem-solving.
What Does Sensory Play Look Like on the Playground?
An effective, but fun and challenging, play environment allows children to explore freely and create their own play experiences. Some examples might be:
- Big building blocks help children focus on size, shape, texture and feel, exposing them to different elements of height, length and circumference.
- Sand and water stations provide a mixture of tactile, auditory, kinesthetic and visual learning experiences, helping children learn about the different attributes of liquids and solids, inciting questions and developing observational skills.
- Musical instruments allow children to explore sound and tones, experience different rhythms and beats, and develop better listening skills. Consider creating a sound garden with five or six musical instruments, such as the marimba, harmonious butterfly, bongo panel, chime panel and others.
- Playing with different types of textures, tastes and objects helps build a child’s vocabulary. A tree has bark that is smooth or rough and it has a sharp pine scent or water can be bubbly, cold choppy or frozen.
Give Kids a Sensory Experience
MaxPlayFit can help you design a play space to fit your children’s sensory play needs – with musical instruments and panels, sand boxes and activity walls, water troughs, texture panels, blocks, bridges, benches and more.
Call 434-664-8522 or E-mail MaxPlayFit
Resources for You
Learn more about Sensory Play from Grounds for Play.
(Click each photo to enlarge.)