The world is a big place and the only way babies, toddlers and preschoolers can discover it is through their senses. This is why it’s so important to incorporate sensory activities into their daily routine – they aren’t just fun and interesting for them, but they also help children to build pathways between nerves in their brains.
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Sensory play involves any type of activity that engages the senses: touch, smell, sight, taste and sound. Think of things like playing with water, sand, clay and paint or playing outside. But even simple things such as filling up a tub for bath time or adding some scented bubbles to the water are sensory experiences too. Check this out
Touch sensory experiences are a great opportunity for kids to develop fine motor skills – pulling, squeezing and throwing. They also improve the ability to identify objects by their texture. Olfactory sensory experiences can be as simple as smelling flowers or testing out their new building blocks for the first time.
Visual sensory experiences are a great way for kids to explore the world around them and learn about colour and patterns. A few easy visual sensory activities include coloured rice, painting with scented oils, tying a ribbon to a piece of string and hanging up colourful tissue paper leaves.
When engaging in sensory experiences, children will learn to filter the information that is relevant and which can be discarded. This will be useful when they become older and are confronted with different sensory input such as noises or crowded spaces.