As any parent knows, children love to pick things up, sniff them, bite them... In doing so children are bringing all their different sensory faculties to bear on exploring the world. Children, then, are naturally interested in sensory activities – they like to listen, smell, see, touch and taste. It’s important as parents that we encourage this interest as it can help develop important skills and hone the development of children’s senses. In this article we list some fun sensory activities and discuss the benefits of sensory stimulation for little ones.
Sensory play activities
So, what are the different categories of sensorial activities? Essentially, they can be broken down by each of the five different senses: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. Here are five different activities to stimulate each one:
- Slime-making! Children love touching weird objects, and what better way to satisfy this than make some slime! It’s easy to do – simply mix equal parts liquid starch with school glue and wait for it to become set. For extra fun, separate the slime and add different food colourings for a colourful experience. Just remember that this kind of home experiment can sometimes get messy so have a good laundry detergent like Surf excel Quickwash nearby, just in case the slime leaves some stains behind.
- Flower smelling: Why not encourage a love of the natural world as well as good smelling sense by taking kids on a flower smelling expedition? Head down to a local field or wildlife spot and sniff the different plants to compare and contrast.
- Multicolour painting: Are the monsoon rains stopping your little ones going outside? The sensory play doesn’t need to stop. Develop their sense of sight by doing some colourful painting. Or if you feel like it, combine visual and tactile senses by hand painting – see this article for ideas.
- Name that tune! Want your kids to listen closely? Encourage them with listening games. This one is a classic. Simply play the first few seconds of various familiar tracks and have them compete to name it.
- Blindfolded taste test: OK, last but perhaps the most fun: taste. It’s important for kids to develop a good sense of taste in order to appreciate nutritious food. To aid their develop play games like blindfolded taste testing when you pick a type of food and try different versions, getting children to identify the various flavours involved.
The benefits of sensory play activities for kids
There are lots of reasons why parents should provide sensory activities for toddlers and older children. For example:
- Sensory play can help calm children down with they are feelings stressed or upset
- Sensory stimulation supports appropriate language development
- Activities for toddlers that include a sensory aspect can also help develop strong memory skills.
There are loads of other good reasons to involve sensory play into your child’s routine, but most important of all, sensory activities are fun! Children enjoy using all of their faculties to understand and grow up in the world. Encourage them to do so with some of these simple ideas.