We are big on sensory play at Stay at Home Activity Mom (our Sensory Kits are for sure some of our favorites!) but not just because it's fun! Sensory play has some important benefits to the development of your child. Toddlers, big kids, even adults, love sensory play so it's great for the whole family!
What is Sensory Play?
Sensory play is any activity that stimulates a child's senses of touch, sight, smell, and hearing. It can also be anything that involves balance or movement. Typically you see sensory play as hands on, open-ended, screen free activities.
What are some of the (many) benefits of sensory play?
improve language skills: kids can describe what they are doing, how it feels, etc. Their descriptions will get better and more detailed over time
improve fine motor skills: this will help with important skills down the road such as handwriting, cutting, or tying shoes
improve critical thinking skills: kids will wonder how things work, problem solving, and analyzing what they are making and doing
help calm/relax your child (great after school activity before starting on homework)
improve social skills: If more than one child is working on the activity or using the bin at the same time they will create ideas together. They will also have to share the materials while learning how to communicate those wants with each other (this is important work for children)
help build nerve connections in the brain and help focus attention
filter stimulation: Sensory play can help kids who are feeling overstimulated. Often times removal from the stimulating situation and an opportunity to play with sensory toys can help kids regulate how they are feeling and maybe even regain better focus on the task they were doing beforehand
possible reduction in meltdowns or length of meltdowns: Some parents have had success learning things that trigger meltdowns for their child and can offer sensory play as a tool to help minimize those meltdowns (this doesn't always work of course but is a nice tool to try)
What are some easy sensory bin/tray filler?
O shaped cereal
craft pom poms
Tips for those new to sensory bins:
don't overthink think it, just step back and let your kids play and explore
be sure to keep a close watch if using small pieces (especially for toddlers) if your child still likes to put things in their mouth, then you should hold off on sensory bins for a bit
don't like the mess? lay down a big towel underneath the bin or better yet, take the sensory play outside
buy ready to go kits on our website...makes it as easy as can be for you, and they are also wonderful gifts for birthday parties or holidays!
Some non-sensory bin ideas to try (these are great for travel):
stress balls/squishy balls
fidget bubble poppers
Tag Stay at Home Activity Mom if you try some new sensory bin activities at home. We love to see what everyone is up to!
* Resources used for some of the benefits of sensory play listed above came from clevelandclinic. org and autismadhdconnection. com Stay at Home Activity Mom has NO affiliation with these sites. *