When you enter a dark room you’re familiar with you can remember what objects surround you. If you see only part of a familiar object you may be able to still know what it is. You can thank your sense of sight for those skills. Even being able to identify colors, shapes, letters and numbers all begins with visual processing.
Our perceptions of the objects in the world around us largely depend on our sense of sight. Messages are sent to our brains and sensory systems through what we see with our eyes. Our thoughts and psychological perceptions of our surroundings taken in by our sight is known as visual perception. Our visual system is complex and consists of many elements including but not limited to memory, discrimination, spatial concepts and tracking. Stimulation of our visual system contributes to early reading, writing and math skills.
Complex as this system may be there are many simple ways a development of our sense of sight can be included in sensory play.
Color Mixing Activities
- Start with two primary colors and allow children to explore what happens when the colors are mixed to create a new color.
- This can be done with colored water, ice, milk, paints, or shaving cream.
- Make shadow puppets.
- Hold up fingers to count in a shadow.
- Find shadows outside on a sunny day, or play shadows game with your child as you walk (let them run around you and trying to step on your shadow!)
I Spy Activities
- Can easily be done with sensory bags or bottles filled with different objects.
- Play outside, around the house or find objects in a book.
Scavenger Hunts and Hide and Seek
- Place objects around the house or outside and go looking for them.
The lists above are just a few examples of how you can get started with visual sensory play for children with or without processing disorders.While you play you can encourage association of visual skills with language by describing objects, discussing relation to other objects and talking about what you see.
Be creative and look around! You’ll find lots of ways to explore with the sense of sight!
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!