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How To Encourage Sensory Play In your Baby: The Benefits Of Touch, Taste, Smell, and Sound

How To Encourage Sensory Play In your Baby: The Benefits Of Touch, Taste, Smell, and Sound

Experience the world, one sense at a time

Senses are an important aspect of a child’s development. Children have five main senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. However, sensory play focuses on activities that engage these senses, helping them develop not only their language and motor skills, but also their cognitive growth and social interactions. Sensory play also addresses two sensory systems that are often overlooked, proprioception and vestibular systems.

Proprioception refers to the awareness of one’s body. It helps children know where their body parts are relative to one another and what amount of force they need to exert when holding, pushing, pulling, or lifting objects. On the other hand, vestibular sense is also known as movement or balance sense and helps children maintain balance during activities. Examples of sensory play include riding a bike, playing with slime, and listening to music.

Sensory play is important in a child’s development from birth to early childhood. It helps build nerve connections in their brain’s pathways, making it easier for them to complete complex tasks. When children engage in sensory play, they help their brain develop and learn from their environment.

Language skills are developed through sensory play. When a child participates in any form of play, including sensory play, they learn through experiences and different ways of communicating emotions, wants, and needs. By engaging their senses, children learn how to describe what they’re doing and how it feels, eventually using more descriptive words to communicate.

Fine motor skills, such as tying shoes, writing, and zipping coats, can also be improved through sensory play. Tactical play that focuses on building, pouring, and mixing helps children build the ability to use small muscle groups and coordinate movements. Sensory play that involves small sensory contents such as dried pasta, rice, or slime can also help strengthen fine motor skills.

Gross motor skills, such as crawling, jumping, and running, are improved through sensory play. Allowing children plenty of time to practice these skills freely helps improve their gross motor skills.

Cognitive growth also develops through sensory play. It encourages children to explore and engage with different experiences and solve challenges they encounter, such as how to get rice from one container to another or how to stay balanced on a swing. It also helps with problem-solving skills.

Sensory play has a calming effect and can be used to regulate arousal levels. For example, the pressure from hugs, weighted lap pads, and sensory seats can help soothe and signal children to stay in place. Sensory play also fosters social interaction and helps children develop social skills. When children engage in sensory play with siblings or peers, they learn how to communicate, troubleshoot problems, and adapt to others’ play.

There are many easy sensory play activities that you can do at home. Sensory bins filled with objects such as sand, water, or craft pom-poms are a great option. Other activities include playing with slime, creating a sensory wall, or even playing with sensory toys.

In conclusion, sensory play is an important aspect of a child’s development, and it’s easy to incorporate into their daily routines. Engaging the senses helps children develop language skills, motor skills, cognitive growth, and social interactions, while also improving their proprioception and vestibular systems. So, next time you play with your child, think about how you can incorporate sensory play into your activities!

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