// Benefits of Sensory Play

Benefits of Sensory Play

Tue 14th Feb 2023

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Blog / Benefits of Sensory Play

Benefits of Sensory Play

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play is any activity that involves a child's senses, such as touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound. Sensory play can include a variety of materials and experiences, such as playing with sand, water, or playdough, experimenting with different textures and colours, and listening to music and sounds. Sensory play is beneficial to children because it stimulates their senses and promotes cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.

Children can learn about the world around them, develop problem-solving and decision-making skills, and improve their communication and social skills through sensory play. Sensory play is an important component of early childhood education because it is a fun and engaging way for children to learn and develop.

What activities class as Sensory Play?

Sensory play can refer to a variety of activities that engage a child's senses. Here are some activities that are commonly referred to as sensory play:

  • Experimenting with various textures, such as sand, water, or playdough
  • Experimenting with different colours and shapes, such as coloured rice or beads
  • Hearing various sounds, such as music or nature sounds
  • Feeling and touching various objects, such as textured balls or sensory mats
  • Playing with messy materials, such as finger paints or slime
  • Scent play, such as with scented playdough or sensory bottles
  • Using sensory toys to engage different senses, such as fidget toys or chew toys.

These activities can be adapted and modified for various ages and developmental stages, and they can be included in playtime, learning activities, or structured play classes.

Why is sensory play so important in child development?

Babies learn holistically, they use their whole bodies and all their senses to learn about the world around them. The new-born’s brain contains more than 100 billion brain cells. From birth there is a huge burst of synapse formation and at three months, 2 million new connections are formed every second! Research has shown that un-used synapses disappear as a child grows. This partly explains why children are able to learn new languages with more ease than adults.

The first year of your baby’s life is crucial for their later learning and exposing them to different experiences and activities can help to build a solid foundation for learning. Certain activities might spark the visual part of the brain, or the logical part of the brain, for example, and as our babies grow these experiences and connections can interconnect to support future learning.

Stimulating our babies with different sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures develops neural connections between the brain which can in turn promote intelligence. These connections also contribute to developmental milestones, such as smiling, hand control, colour vision and face recognition. When babies are engaged in music making, for example, images of their brains show that brain activity increases ten-fold.

In the LullaBaby Step 2 classes, we explore hundreds of different sensory activities that will delight and stimulate your baby’s senses.  An example of this could be the use of lights in sensory play. The use of lights in sensory play has many benefits. The movement of the lights provides our babies with a visual tracking activity. When our babies track the movement of lights, they are promoting their eye co-ordination and strengthening the muscles around the eyes. They are also beginning to use the eyes to move from side to side together, this is early development of the skill they will need to support reading.

Lights can also be used in a calming way. Providing our babies with the opportunity to be exposed to calming lights can help them to relax and even promote a deeper sleep!

Another example of sensory play is the exploration of textures. Touch and texture exposes babies and toddlers to the world around them.

They will begin to make sense of if something feels soft, hard, rough, smooth, silky, fluffy etc. This supports language acquisition. Saying the word as the texture is explored will begin to develop your little one’s vocabulary.

Having the opportunity to feel things also helps to develop motor skills. Gripping, holding, squeezing, poking will help to strengthen the muscles in their hands, as well as their hand-eye coordination.

Where can I take my baby to Sensory Play Classes? 

Here at LullaBaby, we are founded on over 20 years' of research and experience, enabling you to enjoy this precious time with your baby, safe in the knowledge that you are giving them the best start.

Our babies love their weekly classes. Every week is different, and with over 80+ different lesson plans, you can be sure your baby will always have something new and exciting to look forward to.

Lullababy offer 3 different classes all offering different activities depending on your babies age:

  1. Step 1 is for babies from birth to 5 months.
  2. Step 2 is for babies from 2 to 13 months.
  3. Step 3 is for 13 months to 2 years of age.

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Sensory Play

These classes are designed to stimulate your baby and introduce them to new things. These activities include:

  1. Makaton Sign Language
  2. Baby massage
  3. Baby Yoga
  4. Music and Movement
  5. Paediatric First Aid
  6. Sensory Play
  7. Social Time
  8. Baby Graduation

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