Children utilise their senses to explore and attempt to make sense of the world around them from the moment they are born all the way through early childhood. In fact, research has found that people – both children and adults – retain the most information and learn best when their senses are engaged.
Thus, the role of sensory play in a child’s development is undoubtedly significant. Read on to learn about the reasons why sensory play is incredibly beneficial for kids.
Sensory play is any activity that appeals to your child’s 7 senses – visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, tactile input, proprioceptive and vestibular. Playing with rainbow grains to explore colour, fluffy soap foam to explore texture, and apple-scented playdough to explore smell are a few examples of sensory play activities.
1. Helps to develop the brain and facilitate cognitive growth
A child’s senses aren’t entirely developed when they are born. As children investigate their surrounding environment, they only get more mature with time. Each new sensory encounter they have expands the architecture of their brain by creating new nerve connections.
Essentially, children can adjust their thresholds for various sensory information through the use of sensory activities, which helps the brain build stronger connections for processing and responding to sensory information.
Stronger nerve connections help to lay the groundwork for future learning activities that will be considerably more challenging, such as those involving memory retention and problem-solving. Sensory play helps kids to investigate how to play, engage in various activities, and learn to navigate any difficulties they come across.
2. Develops fine and gross motor skills
During tactile sensory play, children learn to recognise items by their sense of touch, which aids in the development of their fine and gross motor abilities.
Children explore texture and shape by touching and moving various objects. They strengthen and hone the small muscles, mostly in their fingers and hands, when performing actions like pinching, twisting, and pouring. On the other hand, children build the major muscles in their arms and legs when they crawl, leap, kick, climb, and run while engaging with objects like stairs, balls, and playground equipment.
3. Fosters social interaction
A child’s ability to properly connect and collaborate with others is encouraged by a healthy play environment, which is crucial for their growth and development.
Your child starts to build social skills by playing with other children in sensory play activities. These activities help children pick up communication skills and gain empathy as they learn to put themselves in the shoes of another person. This will help to encourage mindfulness, acceptance, and inclusion.
4. Strengthens speech and language skills
As mentioned above, when a child engages in play of any kind, including sensory play, they learn via experiences in their environment and discover new methods to express their emotions, thoughts, and ideas. They will be presented with multiple opportunities to practise communicating with others through sensory play activities.
And since children develop excellent spoken language abilities in this way, learning to read may be built on this firm foundation! Additionally, children develop pre-writing abilities — which are important for written language – when they move the muscles in their hands and fingers during sensory play.
And there we have it – 4 key benefits that illustrate why sensory play is important for a child’s development.
Despite the majority of kids meeting their age-appropriate developmental milestones, some experience issues with sensory integration. Children on the autism spectrum are more likely to have sensory processing deficiencies, in which the brain struggles to process and react to information.
Here at Singapore Brain Development Centre, our Sensory Integration Program focuses on the integration of all developmental areas, including cognitive, motor, language, and social skills. To build a strong foundation for all social, emotional, and academic development, we encourage integrated learning through a variety of sensory experiences. Our holistic program makes use of play-based activities to stimulate your child’s senses whilst keeping them entertained and engaged.
We also offer other developmental and cognitive training programs to bridge learning and development gaps. Our developmental training programs – which include our Sensory Integration Program and speech therapy for toddlers — help to enhance your child’s motor behaviour and emotional development by working on the 7 senses. Our holistic cognitive training programs focus on both left and right brain training in Singapore to enhance your child’s whole brain and improve their cognitive skills.
To learn more about our programs and how they may benefit your child, feel free to contact us today!