One of the best things about playing through sensory exploration is the benefit to many different areas of development!
Using many senses at once allows children to develop language, cognitive, motor, social and imaginative skills.
This week we’re talking about language skills and why sensory play has such an impact on development.
Squishy, bumpy, smooth, sticky, gooey, cold. These are some fun descriptive words! And they’re only the beginning when it comes to developing vocabulary through sensory play.
When children are engaged in any type of play talking about their experiences will help develop language skills. If your child is already fairly verbal it will be helpful to observe and listen to the language they use naturally. You can then build off of what they are already saying to expand their sentences and vocabulary.
By asking questions and having a conversation you can encourage describing language.
Here are some ways you can talk about it.
- “How does it feel?”
- “This feels (slimy, smooth, cold, etc.) to me.”
- “Have you ever felt anything else like this? Does it remind you of anything?”
You can also encourage the use of action words.
- “Let’s mix it!”
- “You’re pouring very carefully.”
- “Which spoon should we use to stir?”
These are just some ideas of how you can encourage language development through sensory play. But even if you don’t do any prompting on purpose the play itself will promote growth.
Sensory play lends itself well to pretending which will also encourage language. By adding characters and props to sensory bins, children have the ability to practice conversation. And whether you use bins, bags or bottles you can include letters which will help with letter recognition and objects for naming while playing games like I Spy. Through sensory play when mixing, scooping and pouring children will also be using their coordination and perfecting grasping skills. These skills will assist with early writing as they grow.
Remember of course, sensory play should be about the fun and the experience. And all learning will follow and occur naturally!
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and writer. She loves sharing what she knows about family, play and early learning. When she’s not at her computer you can find her spending family time, organizing or decorating her home, reading a good self-help book or pretending she knows how to cook but she usually leaves that to her awesome husband!