Sensory exploration or play is a natural way for babies and young children to learn and make sense of the world around them. As parents, we need to provide opportunities for our children to actively use their senses through sensory play activities.
Sensory play refers to activities that stimulate one or more of a child’s senses, including touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. Examples of sensory play include creating sensory bins, finger painting, or making slime. To learn about some of the key benefits of sensory play for child development, continue reading.
Sensory play helps facilitate brain development
Sensory exploration serves a critical role in the brain development of children. While engaging in sensory play, the brain’s pathways build new nerve connections. The formation of these nerve connections during simple sensory play will help children complete more complex learning tasks in the future. As such, sensory play helps support cognitive growth.
Sensory play helps strengthen children’s memories
Children tend to learn and retain information the best when their senses are engaged. As such, sensory exploration can aid children in developing and enhancing their memories.
As children have sensory experiences, they file the information they acquire away into their sensory memory. The more senses that are engaged, the better their ability to retain a memory typically is.
For example, a bonfire on a summer night may be particularly memorable as the smell of smoke, the taste of s’mores, the sounds of the crackling fire, and the warmth from the fire stimulate a wide variety of senses. As we get older, this concept doesn’t change, and even adults are more likely to retain information better by stimulating their senses.
Sensory exploration can help children enhance their language skills
Sensory play is a great way to help your child enhance and develop their language skills. As children engage their senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing, they expand their ability to describe objects.
Rather than simply identifying what objects are, they can provide further information on the unique characteristics of the item as they relate to the senses. For example, by expanding their senses, a child can describe a meal as cold, warm, crunchy, soft, sweet, salty, or a wide variety of other sensory descriptors.
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