Just yesterday we checked and noticed we have shared over last couple years over 60 sensory play ideas! And yet, we never explained how to get started with sensory play or why it’s beneficial for kids, even those without sensory issues. We are going to change this with new series of articles about an importance of sensory play with kids!
Some of our best and most valuable memories come from experiences that involve many of our senses.
Think about a walk in the woods on a cool day. Birds chirping in your ears, breathing the fresh air scent, leaves crunching under your feet, stopping to rest on a rock to enjoy a stream.
Experiences like that can help us see things clearly, teach us something new about ourselves, the world around us or the people with us and are just overall enjoyable.
It’s the same thing for children and their development when they have the opportunity to explore through play with several senses at a time.
Setting up and including sensory play does not have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, most sensory play can be set up using materials you already have at home.
There are just some basic things to keep in mind and materials to gather to get you started.
Basics needed for sensory play:
- A deep bin you can turn to a sensory bin
- A tablecloth or waterproof mattress pad for play involving water
- Cups of different sizes for scooping and pouring
- Tongs or tweezers
- Ziploc bags
Few everyday materials to get you started with sensory play:
The possibilities are endless for what to include! Get creative!
There are also many ways to create variety with what gets added to the bin.
Small items you can use inside sensory bins:
There are many developmental benefits with sensory play. These will be explored in more detail in future posts, especially for children with special needs.
But no matter how sensory play is set up children gain an understanding of how materials are used and how they work together. They gain concentration, fine motor skills and have an incredible opportunity to use their imagination.
Tips for beginners to sensory play:
Keep in mind a lot of sensory materials can pose a choking hazard. So it should always be supervised.
Demonstrate how to use the materials when they’re introduced.
Play alongside your child if they want but let them take the lead.
These simple materials will get you off to a great start including sensory materials in your play time! I’m sure you’ll be happy you did!
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!