In the early years foundation stage (which covers playgroup, nursery, and reception), children are taught about the wider world and explore their five senses. They use them to make their own discoveries as well as to develop and strengthen their brain. The range of activities that they explore for this are referred to as sensory play. A primary school in Cheltenham has shared information with us below on its importance and a list of sensory play activities that you can do with your child at home.
Sensory Play Activities That You Can Do at Home
- Create finger puppets
- Set up sensory stations for the five senses
- Explore popcorn using all five senses
- Sort objects by their senses
- Have a sensory scavenger hunt
Benefits of Sensory Play in Early Child Development
As children explore the different senses, they learn the words to describe the different things that they experience, like the words “rough”, and “soft” to describe surfaces. This will help them improve their communication skills.
Gross Motor Skills
Sensory play also gives children the opportunity to work on their gross motor skills. These are the skills needed to do things like run, climb and walk. It concerns their physical ability and larger muscles that they can work on by picking objects up and throwing balls.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills concern the smaller muscles that we find in our hands and fingers. They allow us to pick, grip and hold. They will have the ability to work on these skills and as they explore items with their hands.
Builds Nerve Connections in the Brain
As children explore the senses, they have little expectation of the world around them. Exploring their senses allows them to build positive pathways and understand/trust what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Based on this, they can make judgments about what to eat etc.
A Desire to Learn
It also encourages children to experiment, explore the world around them and learn new things.