It's no surprise there are hundreds of sensory play inspired instagram accounts -- Sensory play is an essential aspect of childhood development. Identifying a sensory activity is easy, and generally it is described as an immersive learning experience that stimulates a child's senses, allowing them to explore, create, and learn about the world around them. Jumping in puddles, getting dirty in mud, and playing with spaghetti are all examples of sensory exploration in children. Whether you're setting up a sensory activity or simply letting them get messy at the table, here are some of the benefits of sensory playtime for kids:

  1. Enhances cognitive development: Sensory playtime helps children develop their cognitive skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking. When children engage in sensory activities, they use their senses to explore and understand the world around them. This helps to develop their cognitive skills, which are important for their future academic success.

  2. Improves language development: Sensory playtime also helps to improve a child's language development. As children explore and interact with different textures, shapes, and materials, they are exposed to new vocabulary words, which they can use to describe what they are experiencing. 

  3. Boosts social skills: Sensory playtime provides children with opportunities to interact and communicate with their peers, helping to develop their social skills. They learn to take turns, share resources, and cooperate with others, which are important skills for building healthy relationships later in life.

  4. Develops fine motor skills: Sensory playtime is a great way to help children develop their fine motor skills. Playing with small objects, pouring and scooping materials, and manipulating different textures all help to strengthen the muscles in their fingers and hands, preparing them for writing and other fine motor activities.

  5. Provides relaxation: Sensory playtime can also be a calming and relaxing experience for children. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and provide a sensory break from the over-stimulating environment of modern life.

Next time you see your child get messy you should feel good knowing that you've enabled an essential aspect of childhood development. Your child will have had the opportunity to learn, explore, and interact with their environment in a safe and nurturing way. By incorporating sensory play into your child's daily routine, you can help them develop essential skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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April 21, 2023 — Barbara Chernyukhin