The importance of sensory play

Shannon Stevely

Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA Early Childhood Studies
Category: Student Ambassador

24 August 2018

Children use their senses from birth. It is important that we create different opportunities for them to explore and discover the different senses in a variety of ways, to help stimulate their development.

play doh sensory play

During an activity, children may be using more than one sense. For example, a great play activity for children is play dough. They can see what it looks like and touch/feel the texture of it. Not only is this a fun activity to do, but children are also using their cognitive development to think independently about the texture of the play dough and use their imaginations to create different objects. This also begins to shape and develop their memory and makes them think more in depth to make tasks more complex.

Children will also be using their fine and gross motor skills to create the objects. For example, in this picture, you can see that the child has placed a smaller piece of play dough and is pushing down into it to create a second layer of the object. The child has also used their pushing and pulling skills with the cutter to create a teddy bear face template with the red piece of play dough. To enhance the child’s development, different colours of play dough have been provided to help begin to recognise and remember different colours. This supports the child’s problem solving skills because he or she can begin to think about how to attach all the pieces of play dough together to create the object.

Sensory play should happen every day in a child’s life through play, as children will learn through playing. Sand and water are also a great to use to help with senses because children can feel wet and dry textures. I also feel that this encourages and helps children’s social interaction because they begin to share ideas and form relationships with peers. That in turn also develops their language skills.


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